Women are equal to men. Surprising, right? Somehow, some Americans are in denial that the wage gap exists, despite many pieces of statistical evidence showing otherwise. Unfortunately, some of these aforementioned Americans are active participants in the government. It is time for these antiquated and discriminatory views to be retired from society.
Last week, a Utah GOP politician (who has since resigned), James Green, came under fire for his letter to the editor of “The Wasatch Wave” titled “Equal Pay for Women Has Consequences”, as he argued against a bill in Utah that would strengthen equal pay. His argument was that if businesses were forced to pay men and women equally, men would earn less than they currently do, which would negatively impact their ability “to support their family, which means more Mothers will be forced to leave home” (Wasatch Wave). According to Green, this would negatively impact families and all of society, as mothers should remain in the home to raise and nurture children. He suggests that instead, the government should leave issues like equal pay and the minimum wage completely alone, and allow the free market to dictate them.
There are two main reasons why Green’s argument is extremely flawed.
First, despite centuries of oppression, women are equal to men. Women, for example, are now better educated than men, have nearly as much work experience and are equally likely to pursue many high-paying careers,” (New York Times). Sadly, studies have shown that employers simply value the work done by women less. As NYU sociology professor Paula England states, “It’s not that women are picking lesser things in terms of skill or importance…It’s just that employers are deciding to pay them less,” (New York Times). Thus, using this logic, the pay gap boils down to one simple issue: sexism. It isn’t that women all want to stay home and be ‘mothers’ anymore, it’s the 21st century. Women are moving into historically male white collar jobs to pursue occupations like doctors and lawyers. And yet, it is in these fields that the pay gap is the largest, which also disputes the common argument that women chose to go into lower paying fields (New York Times). This simply cannot continue to be the case in American society..
Secondly, men can stay at home and ‘nurture children’ as well. In fact, the number of men who stay at home has doubled since 1989 (Pew Research Center). This shows that Green’s logic is sexist, outdated, and flawed, as these men are not staying home predominantly because of unemployment or illness, but rather to raise their kids, thus defeating Green’s point about the importance of the mother at home (Pew Research Center). This demonstrates changing societal roles as these days it can be either the man or woman who is the primary breadwinner for the family.
At the end of the day, Green was right to step down from his position. His reasoning is too outdated and sexist to be a voice in the government, whether in Utah or on a national level. It is time for Americans to wake up to the reality of the 21st century and realize women are men’s equals. Women should not be paid less than men for the same work, nor should they be expected to stay at home to raise their children. It is that simple.