By J.T. Cummings
“If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop,” Emma Watson said during her address to the U.N. on Sept. 20. This speech delivered by the famed Harry Potter franchise actress has brought the issue of gender inequality back to the table, and it’s here to stay.
During her speech, Watson introduced the HeForShe campaign. This organization attempts to fight gender inequality by getting men involved in the fight for equal gender rights.
“Feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” Watson said.
This inequality of the sexes is ever present in the American workplace.
“Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. In 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong,” President Barack Obama said.
The reasons for this pay discrepancy are women’s job choices, education, time off, hours worked and risk taking in the work place, according to The Washington Post.
“Women who do not get married have virtually no wage gap; they earn 96 cents for every dollar a man makes,” The Washington Post wrote.
The gender pay gap “may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers,” according to U.S. Department of Labor research.
Even for the unmarried woman, 96 cents to every dollar a man makes is not equal. The fact is that in every occupation women can expect to receive a percentage of what their male counterparts are paid.
This issue is even worse for women of color.
“This is ridiculous. I think it reflects a lot about how our society feels about polarized gender norms,” junior Olivia Eson said. “Are you really surprised that this happens in a Judeo-Christian environment?
The way that society treats women is very “limiting,” Eson said. “When you put [women] down like that, it is like a double-edge sword. The pattern never changes.”
40 percent of the pay gap is due to sexual discrimination, according the U.S. Department of Labor. The other 60 percent “is explained by differences between workers or their jobs,” it wrote.
Out of the 23 cents that women make less per dollar than men, roughly nine cents is lost due to discrimination—the remaining 14 cents is due to other issues. Even with this explanation of the gender pay gap by the U.S. Department of Labor, women are still not receiving their civil rights.
The 1963 Equal Pay Act states no employer “shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex.”
“I don’t believe a woman gets less done than a man does during the day,” junior Ian Lopshire said. “I have no idea why [women make less per dollar than men].”
The American Association of University Women, an organization devoted to the advancement of women, attributes the pay gap to college degrees, fields of work, gender roles and willingness to negotiate salaries.
“Women are more likely to major in fields like education and the social sciences, which typically lead to lower-paying jobs,” the AAUW wrote in a 2012 report. “Negotiating a salary can make a difference in earnings, and men are more likely than women to negotiate their salaries.”
Women typically work fewer hours in a full time work week, according to the AAUW.
“Persistent stereotypes … steer women and men toward different education, training and career paths; different societal expectations for wives compared to husbands and mothers compared to fathers; and myriad forms of sexism, both subtle and blatant,” the National Organization of Women’s website said.
In an eight-hour work day, with an hourly wage of $20, a man will make $160. Doing the exact same work, for the exact amount of hours, the loss of seven cents per hour puts a woman’s daily earnings at roughly $154. Five eight-hour work days every week, with a standard 50 week work-year, a man’s income will amount to $40k, while a woman’s income, for the exact same job will amount to, on average, $38.5k. That is $1,500 that a woman does not get simply because of her gender.