Last year in English, my teacher assigned a project where we had to research something that we deemed a problem in the world, then represent it in creative way and teach it to the class. Someone presented about inflation in Venezuela, another about bees going extinct, but I chose the gender pay gap in America, and around the world.
In the US right now, white women make on average 79 cents for every dollar that a white man earns right now. And it’s even worse for Hispanic-American, African-American, Native-American and Pacific Islander-American women, who make about 53–62% as white men. While I was researching this issue in class, every time I would find something interesting I couldn’t help but think, “If I end up working with any of the boys in this room right now, I will never make the same amount of money as them no matter how hard I work.” That really stuck with me since then and still sometimes messes with my work ethic and confidence. Why hasn’t it changed? Why aren’t we treated as equals in today’s society?
The first Equal Pay Act was signed 57 years ago which made it illegal to discriminate pay based on sex. However, men are still being paid more than women in every country, every job, with every race, and every age. Iceland has the smallest gap at only 0.87%, then Norway with .84%.
On January 15th, 2020, 58 years after it was first introduced, Virginia passed the Equal Rights Amendment to protect women under the Constitution, the 38th state to ratify the amendment. It’s a step forward—at least it could be—and it’s more than a little overdue. It’s time to make women truly equal under law.