We Say We Care About Equal Pay, But Do We?
When I hear people talking about equal pay, everybody is really in favor of it.
Yes! Of course women should get paid the same as men for doing the same job!
Yes! Women do as much and as good a job, often better, than men so sure, equal pay is a no-brainer.
This is 2016 — of course women should be equally represented and valued as men!
But then in conversation about their own lives, there is a different story.
Anything Will Be Great
A young woman in her early 30’s, just getting her Masters, doing unpaid Internships, looking for a position for after, while she decides about going on for her PhD.
She had some options and was talking about the pros and cons of each. When I asked about the money she said she didn’t even ask. She’s done so much work free for the Internships, anything will be great.
The most prestigious place offered her a low figure, but she reasoned that it was this prestigious place, it was much more than what she was used to and anyway, her fiancé was a lawyer and paid rent and everything so it’s not like she really needs the money.
When I said that that’s a slippery slope for equal pay for women and women’s rights, she literally waved it off and changed the subject.
My Husband Makes Enough for Both of Us
On a Lyft ride recently, the driver was a retired woman. We were talking about the cons of Uber’s business practices and greed vs Lyfts’s fairer and more supportive business practices towards drivers and riders. She said that she still gets excited when the rider gets into the car that she sometimes for gets to start the trip on the app, cutting into what she makes on the trip. “I’m retired and it’s not like I have anything else to do; I just like meeting so many nice people, so it all works out.”
When I asked what about other women who really need the money and the precedent this woman is setting, she too blew me off. “It all works out, for me,” and that settled it all for her.
I don’t really need the money.
My husband makes enough for both of us.
I just do it for the fun of it. It doesn’t really matter what I get paid.
I’m just so glad to have something to do all day!
I just love meeting people, so I don’t mind what I get paid.
Take A Stand
All these sentiments are absolutely socially acceptable and conventionally approved. They are cultivated by the existing, patriarchal system — deeply encouraged even.
How often have you heard or even said these:
Can’t you make do?
If you can’t make do, it is your fault/problem.
You can’t take that much for yourself, that’s selfish.
Who do you think you are? It’s not like you are making any real contributions, not like the men.
If you just tried a little harder, and weren’t so needy, you could make do with what you deserve.
It is ok for you to lower your standards because your circumstances don’t require more. But is it fair that your daughters, nieces, sisters or mothers don’t get access to full protection of equal standards?
Sure, there is a lot to address about the system in general and in specific areas. People like Geena Davis are doing great work in specific areas, such as the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, http://seejane.org/, http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/, and other organizations, institutes and agencies.
The most powerful, empowering component of bringing equality to women in every area is to take it back for ourselves and for our sisters.
I work with women all the time and there comes a time when it is powerful and necessary for her to actually take a stand for her own greatness. Not a show of taking a stand, but in that deep place where the wound used to reside. In the early stages, sometimes she can only take that stand because she has a daughter, or because her mother never took the chance.
Even if you’re, “strong and don’t need it,” or your husband/partner makes enough money for both of you, see if you can’t stretch and grow to the place where your work, no matter how enjoyable, is actually valuable — able to value; of worth — to you.
Be conscious of how your choices play out, and who they support in the bigger picture.
For those who believe that every little thing they do is priceless and if others don’t demand to get paid more that’s their tough luck, this article isn’t for you.
For those of you who keep bucking up and doing without so others don’t have to, maybe now’s a great time to rethink your strategy of telling the world, “Yea, what I do is not really that valuable. I’m good with 70 cents on the dollar, no problem. And to that sister in the workforce how actually needs the other 30 cents, yea, well, boys will be boys. This is how the world is.”
It can only exist if we keep paying to play along.
Delia Yeager is an Intuitive Healer and Conscious Living Coach in the DC area.
www.deliayeager.net ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ 206–452–3557
“I work with women who have been more comfortable standing up for others than for themselves, but are now committed to their own voice, consciously connecting with their own spirit power and thriving.