The first wave of feminism began in the 1920’s with women getting the right to vote.
Here we are some 40 years since the second wave of Women’s Lib and women are still crying that they are not getting equal pay. So, how did this notion of Equal Pay get started? The notion of Equal Pay got started when women were liberated from their bodies with the invention of The Pill, which went into widespread use in the early 1970’s. No longer did women have to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Women, suddenly had a choice. They could choose to delay pregnancy, and instead, could choose to further their education, travel, go into the workforce, or choose to be an entrepreneur. This freedom led to dollars coming into the household, meaning that they no longer had to be beholden to a man for financial sustenance.
As such, women began to evaluate their situation and decided they no longer had to stay with men they didn’t care for. As a result, it was the highest divorce rate in our history, as these women in the 70’s decided that these men were simply not worth putting up with a minute longer.
Prior to The Pill, men were solely responsible for putting food on the table and a roof over the family’s head. Since these newly-independent women were bringing in money, they no longer needed men, or so they thought… Since these women decided that they no longer needed their men for money, after kicking the men to the curb, they figured while we are at it, why even have men at all? Men began to become irrelevant and thus started the downward spiral of the de-humanization of men. Since these moms were bringing home the bacon, they figured they could also raise the children on their own. This way of thinking was so pervasive that these moms also decided to prevent the men from seeing their children, especially their young sons. The mothers could then raise men how they deemed fit. So, they proceeded to raise their young boys, in their mind, with the characteristics of what an ideal man ‘should be’ and since men were deemed irrelevant, they raised their boys without male involvement.
It brings to mind such songs as “Anything You Can Do”, from the movie ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and “I am Woman”, in 1971 from Helen Reddy, to today’s Katy Perry’s song, “Roar”, released in 2013. Bottom line? Not only can a woman do whatever a man can do…she can do it better!
This commonly held belief led to women to decide that if she is going to do the same job as a man, then she deserves to be paid equally. Now, women can feasibly sing a song as well as men, but ANY job? This is the part they didn’t think through…
The second wave of Women’s Lib led to the mantra of getting equal pay. In theory, it’s not a bad premise, ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’, but there were many flaws in that logic that has prevented its passage four decades later.
If we are comparing exactly the same job, women DO get paid equally (in fact, in some categories, women make more). Compare a female executive secretary to a male executive secretary, compare a female civil engineer to a male civil engineer, compare a female pediatrician to a male pediatrician…and the math is equal. But, that is not what women are comparing. Women compare ALL jobs combined and compared it to all male pay and you get the famous ‘70¢ on the dollar’.
The problem with this logic is that men take riskier jobs (that pay more for that risk); men take jobs that require higher levels of education (which gets compensated better, as it should be); men work longer hours (as women often take off more sick days, go to see the doctor more often, and take the kids to the doctor or to the soccer game), and on and on. These statistics are readily available. Warren Farrell, one of the first self-confessed male feminists who served on the board of NOW, the National Organization of Women, wrote a recent book Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap, spells out 25 differences in male and female work-life choices that account for most or all of the pay gap more accurately than do claims of discrimination against women.
Women should not demand getting hired, getting a raise, getting a certain salary, or getting a promotion because the inference is they deserve these benefits solely based on their gender.
No CEO cares about your gender. In fact, the CEO doesn’t even care if you are red, green, black, or have polka dots. All CEO’s/managers care about is the bottom line. Are YOU adding to the bottom line? If not, then there is nothing there to talk about.
In my experience, when I was a new hire, I put my nose to the grindstone, and just shut up and did the work. Sooner or later, the boss would notice my efforts. Usually, that point was about the six month mark. Here’s how I knew I was “in”…the boss would invite me to an after-hours event, like a sport fishing trip or golf, or a sporting event. From that moment on, I was on “equal” footing. No crying, begging, or screaming about my gender was necessary. Bosses look to see if you’re doing the work. If you are adding to their bottom line, you will get the raise/promotion.
Since then, many of my male readers have shared the same experience. They told me when they were new, they also had to “earn their stripes”, meaning that nothing was just given to them or taken for granted, and no assessment was made based on gender or any other attribute that was unrelated to the bottom line.
Is the so-called gender gap solvable? Of course…but not using the methods of our predecessors or current women. They are demanding equal pay, which is in essence telling the boss to “even the score based on gender”, which I find sadly humorous. If you are hired, promoted, or given a raise based on gender, it is actually demeaning you because it means you are being rewarded for effort that you never did, similar to being rewarded due to height or eye color, not because of your work. For me, it is far more satisfying to get merit because my work ethic stands out.
Women are not the same as men. In fact, women have many skills that are extremely valuable in the workplace. One such example is female EMT’s (emergency medical technicians) who do a much better job of allaying a patient’s fears and calming them down while administering rescue procedures. As a result, compared to male EMTs, a higher number of patients don’t die before reaching the hospital.
There are many similar examples in other fields. Instead of crying that women should be paid equally, we should embrace our differences and the contributions that each gender adds to the success of the company.
At the end of the day, the best companies find ways to work well together, and in so doing, the individual also gets personal satisfaction, and that includes women.
Linda is the author of, FOR MEN: Mastering Women. The Real Truth About Women That Will Change Your Life Forever.
Book, For Women: Hitched…in 90 Days or Less. Attract and Keep the Man of Your Dreams.
Listen to her Radio Show. Click for program details and links: The Men’s Advocate Show with Linda Gross, every Wednesday, at 3pm PST/6pm EST and listen on-demand: Current Shows and All Archived Shows.