I Don't Want To Wait 150 Years

by Sidra M.S. Vitale

There's an article discussing the fact that if you do the math, it'll take 150 years before women get equal pay for the same work as men. Some survey in Britain, of women's wages, etc.

Equal pay? Women will have to wait 150 yrs.

Here's the quote I found so interesting: "Our labour market severely punishes those who sacrifice career for family."

Now, here's the thing the article communicates non-explicitly: of course, you should be penalized for putting family over career. If you sacrifice your career, you sacrifice your career. That's what sacrifice means. To give up.

So, this is a very interesting word choice because women are socialized to do just that: sacrifice. Put others ahead of ourselves, including putting family ahead of career. But what makes women more motherly than a man could be fatherly? A parent should be willing to sacrifice for their children, regardless of their own gender.

In addition, that quote makes it sounds like a choice. A woman chooses to sacrifice her career for her family. But unless you're quite rich, these aren't choices like what ice cream flavor to put in your sundae -- this is about providing for your family, your retirement, and your future. These are choices where you've got a rock, and a hard place, and you ask yourself what crippling blow can you take best and still survive?

So, why should Mother sacrifice her career, I ask you, and not Father, or not the two of them together? Hmmm?

Because we live in a patriarchal system, that's why, that devalues women, our bodies, and our work.

The problem with patriarchy is that when you say, "well, someone has to", that 'someone' is still usually a woman.

Now, what's even MORE interesting about this article is the last paragraph:

The report on women's salaries found that even those who worked full-time and did not take career breaks would earn 12 per cent less than their male counterparts after ten years.

Our labor market doesn't severely punish those who sacrifice their career for family -- it punishes those women who don't, too.

Copyright © 2006 by Sidra M.S. Vitale

02/09/07 at 22:27