Stop. Before you start making that blah-blah-blah motion with your hands and rolling your eyes, think about this: what if you made $.81 on the dollar based solely on your gender, your color or your sexual preference? What if you made $.81 on the dollar even if your peer who is doing the same work is making the full dollar? Would you be happy?
Much to my mother’s chagrin, I do not consider myself a feminist. I’m a humanist. Inalienable rights are exactly that and should not be subjected to wit, whimsy or even the precious Free Market.
I entered the workforce in 1986 and was very fortunate to land a part-time job in an office. After a year of working for the company, another part-timer was added. We had the same level of education (we were both students). I had seniority in so far as seniority goes (which isn’t saying much). My hourly wage was less than the noob’s. Alas, his plumbing is external and mine is internal.
The only instance in my entire life where I made more than my male counterparts was when I was working as a manager in the marine industry. Given that the marine industry isn’t exactly female friendly, this was quite an accomplishment. Or maybe it spoke more to my looking the then CEO in the eye and saying “If you want cheap labor, then you will have cheap labor. If you want good, if you want talent then you will pay me.” Since that freak of nature, I doubt I have been on par with any of my male colleagues.
I cannot accept that women should make less because we’re busy making babies. I cannot accept that women should make less because we are women. I cannot accept that anyone should make one cent less for doing the same damn job and, sometimes, doing it way better.
I appreciate salary banding. There are times where I’m not the most competent lass in the room and a colleague will rightfully deserve to make more than I do. There are times when I’m the competent one and I should rightfully earn more. All that said, women have been a dominant force in the workplace for a considerable amount of time. Don’t we deserve more than $.81 on the dollar? Haven’t we earned it? And why should we ask ourselves what we are doing wrong because we cannot achieve pay parity?
Governor Bev Perdue has proclaimed April 12th as “North Carolina Equal Pay Day.” I’m not the biggest fan of our Governor and I realize that this is a mostly empty gesture. But if it sparks debate, if it rouses the rabble, I’m all for it.
Haven’t we, as a society, evolved far enough that people should be compensated based solely on qualifications and performance, as opposed to gender and plumbing? And why is it that we find this an acceptable practice? Furthermore, why are we branded with the “feminazi” label for wanting what we rightfully earn? I’m not asking for conciliatory measures. I’m merely asking to be treated like a human.