When we think of the classical, “happy” relationship between men and women, many people will conjure up the image of a maiden in distress being rescued by a knight in shining armour.
Unfortunately, it’s that inclination which has lead us to a plethora of gender inequality problems. So, it is no surprise that there is a palpable tension in the workplace between men and women.
Women are vehemently frustrated with the knowledge that even though they are doing the same amount of work, they are making less than their male co-workers, regardless of the output or quality.
The glacial pace at which the wage gap is closing is worrisome and disheartening to many, but there are some who have taken it upon themselves to institute their own change instead of waiting on miserly men to do it for them.
World War II saw an extraordinary number of working age men being sent overseas to fight.any industries lost a chunk of their producers, and this included those industries expected to supply our armed forces.
Necessity provided the first push for women to fill the gaps that were being created by the draft.
Hence, the rise of Rosie the Riveter and her famous motto, “You Can do It!” that encouraged wives, daughters, and others to support their loved ones who fought on their behalf.
Unfortunately, after the war was over, many women were ejected from these industries for their male counterparts, and they went back to the traditional gender roles of running the household and growing the family.
Fast forward to the late 60’s-70’s when equal rights for women and feminine liberation were on the rise.
Women made a mass movement to enter into the traditional male fields. The caveat is that many were pigeon holed into very specific roles in those industries, such as secretaries, teachers, and nurses.
They were also getting paid far less as women were never expected to support a household, their earnings were more of an accessory to their provider’s salary.
The Modern Conundrum
According to the AAUW with information collected through the census bureau, women across ethnicities, make 80 percent of the earnings that men do.
What is more appalling is that if you separate out the minorities from these metrics, you will see that among people like African American and Hispanic women, the gap is far wider.
Most of this is due to the fact that these male dominated industries are still male dominated, and instead of adapting to social change, these leaders do not want to mess with their bottom line.
Socially, women are never taught to negotiate for a higher wage because they do not want to risk offending their potential employers and losing out on a good job.
This is magnified by the fact that many companies are not transparent with their earnings, and that leads to women being oblivious to the problem existing.
How Entrepreneurship is the Solution
The two main problematic factors here are power and money. Management feels that if they’ve been able to get away with paying these lower wages to women in the past, keeping their costs lean, and no one complains, than there is no issue.
It is likely that many of these executives are not “against” women, but that they care more about their profits than something they perceive as some hot button topic of the moment.
These male executives are proud of the environment that they cultivate, and making changes based on social pressure feels too much like losing control.
Women fighting the wage gap through entrepreneurship are particularly effective on these two factors.
By starting new businesses, women take control to factor in a more ethical wage for the services being provided, and they get to better determine their own worth.
When the market sees that a business can remain successful and still run an ethical office and pay equal livable wages, it puts pressure on the other male run companies to make changes to what they are offering their female employees in order to keep the talent in their offices.
It can be taken a step further by addressing the less than equal benefits that many women are subject to when working in a corporate job.
In America, maternity leave is seen as a luxury offering from employers, and because of recent legislation, health insurance is no longer required to cover birth control.
With so much legislation working against the women of the workforce, it takes a woman in charge to feel the obligation to do what she can for her female employees, so that they can have access to the same level of care as their male co-workers.
The wage gap is real. The atomic family is only a small part of what makes up our society today, and is lunacy to think the same practices of 50 yrs ago still apply to an ever changing social landscape.
It is imperative that the wage gap continue to shrink for the sake of the working women taking care of herself or her family.
Men are no longer the socio-economic breadwinners. There are plenty of single moms and wives that are expected to earn as much or more than their husbands to contribute or support the family.
It is a joy to see that women aren’t relying on men to change things for them, and that they are becoming their own white knights.
Thank you for reading.