With the birth of the 20th century came a push for a change of the societal construct fueled by women. From the earliest days of the suffrage movement, women have steadily grown more and more equal to men in the eyes of the masses, but have not achieved total equality for various reasons. One of these reasons is politicians. On April 6, reports the Badger Herald reports, Gov. Scott Walker was yet again at his controversial ways and signed four pieces of legislation in which the first three segments put a limit on women’s roles in their own healthcare and the fourth made it harder for women to take legal action against employers for practicing wage discrimination.
This is counterproductive to what many women have been fighting for over the past decades. It is a step in the wrong direction and leads the public to believe that women and men are currently earning the same wages for similar jobs. This is, in fact, not true. In 2009, according to the U.S. Census, for every $1 men made, women only made 75 cents. Over the course of a year and ultimately a lifetime, the difference in earnings really does add up. In the long run, it’s like being able to retire with a Ferrari versus a ’99 Daewoo Lanos.
Some people with prehistoric beliefs like to think that women do not have as much of a need for money. One of these people, who shares Walker’s ideology (shocker), is state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, who has been quoted by the Daily Beast as saying, “You could argue that money is more important for men.” I’m calling bull. Think of all of the single mothers out there. Think of all of the women, who, like men of their age, are trying to put themselves through college. Not to mention the Women’s Policy Research, located in Washington, D.C., came out with statistics revealing that “two-thirds of all households in poverty in Wisconsin are headed by single women.” I, for one, would feel pretty stupid asking them if money is important in their lives. Obviously, yes, money is important in the lives of these women and their families, and certainly a little extra would not hurt. Such a statement assumes that all women are fiscally dependent on a male provider.
“Hey, I’m a man. I do man stuff like eat steak and watch football. That means I should be safe from unfair wages, right”? Sorry, generic man, but that is incorrect. Without protection from wage discrimination, men will also suffer financially. This is due to a sort of domino effect that occurs as employers do not think they have to be competitive with their wages, thus resulting in a decrease in wages for all.
It appears that no good can come from any of this, so why do it? Women are as capable as men, so why should they not be paid the same amount? If it were the other way around, with men earning less money and then signing legislation on top of that to make it more difficult to fight for equal wages, there would be total uproar. It would be all over national news and a main topic of discussion in social circles. What does that tell you about our society? It tells me that men and women are still not equal in the eyes of society and leads me to wonder if a true equality will ever be reached. As much as the humanitarian in me would like this to be realized, I just do not see how it can be done with some of the leaders of the free world living in the past and continuing to discriminate against others for innate attributes.
Side note: I wonder if Walker’s wife made him sleep on the couch after hearing of this new legislation.
Hayes Cascia ([email protected]) is a freshman with an undeclared major.