Wage Gap Essay

Nearly a century ago, on August 26, 1920, women were finally granted the right to vote. In the past 100 years, a lot has changed...but we aren't where we should be yet. Here, Michael Marty, senior vice president of Care.com, an organization that helps families find care for children, seniors, and other family members, shares an open letter to his 8-year-old daughter on why he will never stop fighting for gender equality.

Dear Kyla,

You know the way you’re starting to feel about the end of summer — excited to begin a new school year, but also wishing for a few more carefree beach days on the Cape? Well, that’s kind of how I feel about you growing up. Before your mother’s and my eyes, you’re becoming this amazing young person — funny and kind, thoughtful and brave. But there’s a part of me wishing for few more carefree years in which I can protect my little girl from all of the challenges the world will inevitably throw her way.

As I sit here writing this, I know 2016 is an amazing time for girls to grow up. This summer, we saw our first female Presidential nominee from a major party. That made me think about a recent conversation you’ve probably already forgotten. We were walking, and you looked up and saw some geese. Most of them were flying in a V formation, but you asked about the one off to the side. I said something like, "He's a wild man, off doing his thing." And you replied resolutely, without missing a beat, "She might be a girl, Daddy."

Do you know why I’ll always remember this conversation? Because in that moment, I saw the world through your eyes. To me, it was just a goose; to you, she was a fierce individual making her own path. I hope you keep that perspective. Always. For your generation, it will always be normal to have women running for or even serving as President. For you, it will be normal that there are women Supreme Court Justices, CEOs, and Army Rangers. Those particular glass ceilings won't exist for you. But, as your father, I’m painfully aware that, for all the really important progress we’ve made, there are still biases, limits, and gender stereotypes that unfortunately shape the way many young women and girls see themselves. That’s why I’m writing you this letter.

This Friday is Women’s Equality Day. It commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, which granted women the right to vote. Days like this are important because they remind us of our history and how far we’ve come, while also helping us reflect on the work we still have to do — and how much more in the world we want to see fixed. It makes me crazy to think that, because we still don’t have equal pay in this country, you — my daughter — might not earn as much as a man (who’s lucky enough to be your equal) until you’re 50 years old. That's when we’re projected to close the gender wage gap: in 2058. And to think that should you decide to become a mom, having a family could make it even harder for you to get ahead in your career! As a man, that was never an issue for me.

When you were born, I was an officer in the Army. There was no paid paternity leave available to me, so I took my accrued leave (vacation time) in order to be there for you and your mother — striving then, and to this day, to be her equal in parenthood. At the same time, I thought it was important to show those who looked to me for leadership that a father can selflessly serve his nation without sacrificing his commitment to family.

It’s important to have leaders who aren’t afraid to challenge systems that perpetuate injustices, institutional biases, and inequalities. That’s why I’m doing the work that I do today, alongside some amazing people at Care.com. That’s why I’m answering the call of my boss, who happens to be a real-life superwoman, as we fight to make equal pay just another glass ceiling shattered for your generation — through initiatives like the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge, which our company signed earlier this year.

As much as I wish I could shelter you from even the possibility that you’d ever be made to feel less than anyone else because of your gender, I know I can’t. But I also can’t stand around.

As a man, as your father, that’s one of my responsibilities to you. As much as it’s my instinct to protect you from harm and provide an environment that sets you up for success, it’s my obligation to help institute workplace policies and culture that empower you to follow your dreams and make them a reality. I need to do my part to make sure more women are getting hired and promoted, and that more moms feel supported to return to work — so that my daughter can see this is the way things are, rather than the way things should be.

It has never occurred to you to think of being a girl as a limitation — it never should, and I hope it never does. I don’t want you to have to choose between family and work, between getting a promotion and getting to your child’s recital. You may only be eight now, but I truly think about this every day. It’s why I work so passionately and proudly for a company that is striving to shatter that barrier, too, by helping businesses level the playing field for working moms and dads.

The world is changing fast — almost as fast as you’re growing up. I can’t stop time and keep you 8 years old forever, but I can try like hell to change the world and give you the true equality that your generation expects and deserves.

I haven’t decided exactly when I’ll give you this letter. Maybe for your 18th birthday...the first year you vote. That will also be the year that, together, we’ll celebrate America’s 250th birthday. Until then, keep making me proud.

All my love,

Daddy

Michael Marty is a senior vice president and general manager at Care.com, overseeing global operations, consumer payments, and all domestic and international business-to-business products and services, including Care@Work by Care.com, the enterprise arm focused on helping companies support their working families. Michael is also a husband, father of two, and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army.

Michael has held various roles within the tech space, specifically in the digital media, gaming, and mobile industries. Before venturing into the tech industry, he was an officer in the U.S. Army, which included a combat tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Michael was selected as a "Top 40 Under 40 Military/Veteran" and is a recipient of the General George C. Marshall Foundation Leadership Award. Michael holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Wages in the work place are equal, right? This is the year 2002. Weve come a long way past the negative stereotypes of June Clever. Women are just as proficient as men. Several pieces of legislation have been enacted in an attempt to solve the problem of gender-based wage inequality. Then why do we still have the difference in wages?

The answer is clear. Gender-based inequality still exists in the American work place. The glass ceiling is an expression used to clarify the invisible barrier that limits advancement in the course of a number of womens careers. There is documentation which states that women deal with challenges in their career that men will never face.

Some of these challenges that women deal with are negative female stereotypes, increased visibility due to being a minority, exclusion from formal mentoring structures and negative valuation in management / leadership roles (Monks and Barker). The glass ceiling phenomenon lists three models: the human capital model, the ruling elite model, and the developmental model (Daley). The human capital model describes results in relation to individual distinctiveness. When the ratio of women to men in the labor force is observed, the actual number of women in executive titles is lacking due to the lack of expertise, experience, skill and the decisions they have chosen. The ruling elite model suggests that women are not as successful in their careers due to the views of society. Female characteristics and negative stereotypes have hindered women and forced them to choose traditional careers or not allow them to hold supervisory titles.

The developmental model views the glass ceiling as a short-term hindrance that training and development will solve. This model fails to acknowledge contributing factors of discrimination and the negative view of society (Daley). President Kennedy passed the Equal Pay Act into a law in 1963. The Equal Pay Act forbids discrimination on the basis of sex in the payment of wages or benefits where men and women perform equal or substantially equal work of similar skill, effort, and responsibility for the same employer under similar working conditions. Employers may not reduce wages of another employee to equalize the wage.

The Equal Pay Act addresses no more than the topic of gender-based wage discrimination. A policy targeted to deteriorate gender discrimination, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, broadens the standard for gender discrimination. Executive Order 11246 requires non-exempt federal contractors and sub-contractors to participate in affirmative action (Barbour et al. 0. 14 - 19). Occupational choice is still a factor in dealing with the gender gap. One of the many factors that contributes to the wage gap is tendency for women to crowd into certain occupations. Once women over-populate a certain career field, the wage tends to be lessened.

Occupations that women tend to choose include school teachers, secretaries, registered nurses, cashiers, managers and administrators, sales supervisors and proprietors. Another reason that contributes to the wage gap is that the employment and/ or careers women choose have a tendency to require little or no continuing education or training. In turn, the earnings for the sources of employment are usually low. It has been assumed that women tend to choose career / employment that allow them to leave and re-enter the labor force with ease (Earnings Differences). For women discrimination is still a real factor in todays labor force. Although the Equal Pay Act laws against discrimination and the Affirmative Action program are in place, gender-discrimination is still in practice today.

Employers still view men as more capable, reliable, responsible, productive and better qualified than women, especially when considered for executive positions. Employers feel that a family or children tend to be an added burden on a woman and tend to prohibit her from being loyal to her employer. Also she is perceived not to be as productive since she has other responsibilities on her mind. There is a domino effect that hinders a woman from being perceived on the basis of her work ethic instead of her gender. Another interesting fact is that married men on average receive a higher wage than men who are single, on the other hand (however), married women receive lower wages than a single woman, the same situation but just reversed. (Explaining Trends). In December 1971 President Nixon issued Revised order no. 4 obligating contractors to acquire / develop an acceptable affirmative action program, a program to include minorities and / or women in contracting.

Affirmative action is a program that plays a significant role in providing opportunities to women and other minority groups that not otherwise be available. In the area of education there are grants and internship programs are available to provide an opportunity for non-traditional career choices. In employment Affirmative Action has encouraged employers to diversify their workforce. Affirmative Action is both beneficial and effective as a tool for most all who participate in the program (Affirmative Action). In spite of the change in times, laws, and assistance / services /programs that support equality in the workplace, gender inequality still exists.

The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of gender. Affirmative Action encourages employers to recruit a diverse workforce. Executive Order 11246 requires the government to provide opportunities for minorities and women. Progress has been made in the labor market and occupational status for women. In 2002 women are encouraged to enter college and to choose careers that suit them, not careers that are suited to them. The gender wage gap has continued to narrow, but women still face obstacles in wage equality.


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