My little brother (#2 of 3) posted this video on the gender wage gap “myth” on my Facebook yesterday, and it inspired my impromptu blog/rant/soapbox lecture which I will share with you below. I realize that most of my blog is NOT feminist or political, but I obviously feel very strongly about this and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts about the subject. So watch the video, read my commentary, and please add your own!
Personally, I think it’s a HUGE problem that girls are not encouraged towards the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I remember hearing “don’t worry if you don’t understand math; girls usually don’t.” Yes, I struggled with math and had a HUGE learning curve, but once I got it (in college), I got really good grades and actually enjoyed my classes. It’s not a field I wanted to CONTINUE studying (especially after taking Physics, where my professor basically dismissed all my requests for help), but I wonder if I would have caught on sooner if I hadn’t been told over and over that girls aren’t good at math. But if the fields that make the most money are not fields that girls are encouraged to study and be a part of, don’t you see THAT as being a big problem?
Secondly, our society is just not set up for women to easily continue working in their careers after having children. Child care is obscenely expensive, workplaces are often not flexible with parents taking time off to care for their newborns, sick children, etc. Even breastfeeding laws that protect a woman’s right to take more frequent breaks to pump or nurse are not well enforced (work places are supposed to provide a private place for this to happen and bathrooms do NOT count… but most women are only given a bathroom as the private place. Would YOU prepare food for your child in a bathroom?). Because of factors like this, WHAT CHOICE DO MOTHERS REALLY HAVE? We have to choose careers that allow the flexibility that mothering requires, and sadly, those careers don’t pay as much as other “choices.” I’ve personally worked exclusively part-time jobs since becoming a mother because I couldn’t find full-time employment that allowed me to also mother my young children.
Finally, I do appreciate his conclusion that to overcome some of these issues, we have to change the gender perceptions that woman JUST take care of children and men JUST earn money. There has to be a more even division of the household responsibilities and the wage-earning responsibilities. Growing up, we were SO BLESSED to have a dad who made enough money for mom to stay home with us (although she worked part-time when it was just 3 of us), and that was common among the families that we grew up with, but it is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE in this generation for a mother to not work. And what about women who don’t find their sole definition in mothering? It isn’t wrong for a woman to be both a mother and a career woman. The Proverbs 31 woman is shown doing WAY more working than mothering her children… and she’s the ideal that Christian moms are held up to!
OK, one more point. *IF* stay-at-home-mothering is such a value to the family/society etc., than why is it not something that mothers are compensated for? I just calculated my salary from this website http://swz.salary.com/momsalarywizard/htmls/mswl_momcenter.html and, as a work-from-home-mother, my uncompensated work is worth about $63k a year! What’s yours?
Posted on October 20, 2011, in Breastfeeding, Mothering, Parenting, Writing and tagged breastfeeding laws, Child, Christian, Facebook, Family, feminist, gender wage gap, Home, Mother, Parenting, Stay at Home Mothers, STEM fields, work at home mothers, working mothers. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.