“In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”
This was one of the questions asked during in the second presidential debate in Hempstead, NY. I felt a little perturbed as a military spouse with both of the candidates in their attempt to answer this question. But what could they say? Of course, no one wants to address any of the underlying issues head on. Therefore, dancing around a ballroom of political correctness is what we got to watch.
This question can only be answered by asking why. Are American employers Neanderthals that are discriminating against wonderful women for no reason other than the fact that they female? It is a possibility that there are some, but I bet the biggest majority of the employers across the nation have other reasons for hiring women for less pay.
Some of you may disagree with my perspective, and that’s okay. Others will find my reasoning relatable. The great thing are that answers and solutions don’t require approval by a political party or an act of congress-which should save you at least a decade waiting on our government to come up with a solution and process of the appropriate paperwork.
So let’s get started.
What goes into the cost of hiring an employee and keeping that employee on the payroll? Well, training, sick pay, vacation, holiday pay, insurance (short term, long term disability, life, health, etc.). That’s a pretty good start. But when you hire a woman there are other expenses and issues to consider. If the woman becomes pregnant, there are additional medical appointments that must be made, maternity leave, and a temporary employee to replace her until she comes back to work. Then there is the issue of breast feeding. Does she need to have additional breaks scheduled so that she can pump? Does the workplace have the sufficient resources to give her the privacy to pump? And if it all of these things cannot be provided, will she quit? Then the cost of hiring and training begins again.
Then there is the issue of time. Most women are the primary caregivers for their children. When the baby gets sick, it’s mommy to the rescue! For me personally, my family and my babies are the most important part of my life. There is no job that could possibly take precedence. I know quite a few moms out there that feel the same way. And, for most women, the answer is “No, I cannot stay till ten o’clock tonight working on this. I have to get my kids, cook dinner, clean house and get everyone ready for the next day.”
Often times, we are pulled from both directions. On one hand, the guilt many of us feel for leaving work to attend to our families is nauseating. On the other, that feeling is intensified when we feel that we have neglected our roles and responsibilities (whatever they may be) in our home. If the pay statistics are correct, we not only deal with getting paid less, but also endure a continual state of guilt.
These aren’t the only issues surrounding the discrepancies regarding pay in the workforce, but these are major issues that effect millions of women. So, what are we going to do about it?
Less pay sucks, but feeling guilty all the time sucks too. If you have a job with no raise in sight, try asking for something that is more valuable than money….time.
1.) Additional Personal Days/Vacation Days: These can be used anyway you want! Considering that your employer won’t be shelling out more money, this might be more appealing option. Yes, you are paid the same, but the time commitment to make the pay is reduced. Thus, your price per hour is increased. Can you imagine?
2.) Reduction in Hours: One little hour adds up. Request to come in/leave one hour early.
3.) Telecommute: Welcome to the 21 century. You have a phone, computer, printer and the internet. Taking your work home may not sound like a profitable deal in your favor, but let’s think about it. How much does it cost in gas to get work? Lunch everyday? Depending on your expenses, this could put an extra $500-$1000 a year in your pocket.
4.) Start Your Own Business: We live in the land of opportunity, and if you don’t like your paycheck or the person that signs it, opt for the ultimate solution. Start your own business and determine what your paycheck will be.
This may only be the begining of the issues surrounding pay and four suggestions may not be much; but at least it was addressed head-on. I don’t know why things are made out to be harder than what they are. No political ballroom dancing here! Stay tuned for my next article on the reasons why women (in specific) are better off owning the company rather than working for it.