War of the Wages

Why do women have to fight just to get the bare minimum? The gender wage gap is an ongoing issue in our country and women all around the United States struggle with this conflict. Dating back to the 1940’s when women started replacing more men in the workforce, the fight for equal pay began and still exceeds into my reality, 2022. In 2022, women make an average of 82 cents for every dollar that a man makes. Over time the wage gap has narrowed but by pennies. According to the New York Times, over a decade ago in 2011 women made 77 cents for every dollar a man made. In 1966 this number was 74 cents. Throughout the pandemic, the wage gap’s continuous improvements have come to a standstill and women around the world continue to live with this inequality. How is this fair and why is it still an issue in 2022? As a young woman I asked myself this question and had to face the sad truth that as I grow older, the wage gap will still be very much present.

In diverse minority communities, the gender wage gap impacts women even more
outstandingly. Nationalpartnership.org states that Black women earn 58 cents to every dollar a white man makes and for Latina women, this number is only 49 cents. Not only do minorities struggle from discrimination in the workplace and lack of resources, but they also suffer from unequal pay more significantly than white women do. Once again, minorities and more specifically minority women are being marginalized and treated with minimal respect. This is people’s livelihoods and they depend on their jobs to survive just like their caucasian counterparts. But how would white men in power live if they saw women of color make matching wages as them or if they saw them in positions of power like themselves? They keep the rich, rich and the poor, poor. It should not be this way.

Equal Pay Day in the United States symbolizes how far into the year the average
median woman must work in order to have earned what the average median man had earned the entire previous year. Equal Pay Day differs each year and it is on multiple days of the year. White women’s Equal Pay Day was on March 15, 2022. Black and Hispanic women’s equal pay day for 2022 hasn’t even come yet. These women are still working to make what a man earned in 2021 alone. Black women’s Equal Pay Day is September 21, 2022 and for Latina women this date is December 8, 2022. It is absurd and infuriating to see how long women of all races have to work to meet the amount men made in the previous year. It should not even be necessary that we have these Equal Pay Days, equality should be a standard and future generations should not have to face the unacceptable norm of the wage gap.

Many organizations and businesses today are taking a stand against the gender wage
gap. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law as the President of the United States. This law requires companies and businesses to ensure their pay practices are non-discriminatory and are equal for all of their employees. He also introduced the Equal Pay Pledge. Businesses who sign this Equal Pay Pledge agree to conduct an annual gender pay analysis for their company as a whole and promote the best practices for eventually closing the pay gap. Some companies who have taken this pledge are Twitter, Amazon, Adobe, Delta Airlines, and many more.

Not only are companies and leading officials taking a stand but so are others. The
United States Women’s National Soccer Team for several years have fought for equal pay and equitable treatment of female players. In March 2019, the USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation in which they accused the federation of paying lower salaries to women and exposing them to more dangerous playing conditions. Today in 2022, the women’s players agreed to settle the equal pay lawsuit and the women athletes will receive $24 million and a pledge from the federation to equalize pay for both the men’s and women’s national soccer teams. The USWNT standing up against the inequality of pay in their teams is inspiring and it affects the next generations of women’s soccer players to come. I am a woman and also a soccer player, so seeing some of my biggest idols stand up for what they believe is right is truly energizing.

Anyone can help this injustice by simply talking about it and spreading the word.
Everyone has a voice and everyone can be a part of the change. No one’s voice is more important than another’s, so use your voice and speak up for what is right.

As a young woman I am disappointed by these statistics in our day in age. I have to
grow older and face the reality of being a woman in a workplace where men are at a constant advantage than me and all of my fellow women coworkers. It’s sad to hear this truth but unfortunately I am not surprised at all. Since the beginning of our country as a whole, women have had to fight for the bare minimum and what white men have had since the start. Today in 2022, the fight for equality is very much an ongoing mission and we don’t plan on stopping soon.

Liliana Garcia

Saint Ignatius College Prep – DMSF Class of 2026

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay