Article Written By: Debbie Stokes
Why aren’t women treated fairly by men on the job? Why don’t women earn equal pay to men in the same positions? We are at a time in society where these questions need to be addressed more than ever. When it comes to equal pay, the sad truth is the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Obama passed law called the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was supposed to protect against such acts. However, the problem remains; women have undeniably been left out of earning equal wages. According to the Shriver Report found on the National Organization for Women’s website, and released in 2014, “Women’s average annual paychecks reflected only 77 cents for every $1.00 earned by men. Specifically, for women of color, the gap is even wider: In comparison to a white, non-Hispanic man’s dollar, African American women earn only 64 cents and Latinas just 55 cents.”
With that said, what is it going to take to fix these problems? Part of the problem is how women are perceived by men. They are looked at by their male counterparts at work as, “less than or unequal,” and as their careers grow to upper level positions, the problem gets worse. Most often, these women have to fight to be heard, respected, and taken seriously. Until men can realize the worth of women, nothing will change. However, there are some jobs that do practice doing what’s right; whereas, they pay the position, not the sex. Unfortunately, that type of practice is on the lower end of the spectrum. More often than not, women have to fight for their right to equal pay.
Another point, not only do women have to deal with the manipulation of their salaries, they also have to deal with harassment, male egoism, and sexism when it comes to advancing in their careers. For instance, there may be times when sexual favors are transferred in order to get more pay or to move up in their careers. To be fair with this point, this problem is two-sided. Men may ask for sexual favors or women may offer sexual favors; for example, by dressing and acting sexy in an attempt to get fair pay. Whichever way it happens, it’s wrong.
Men have to stop using their leverage of being the boss as a way to influence and manipulate women. On the other hand, women must understand they should never lower their values to get a promotion; the promotion should be based on their merit alone. Part of the problem is the way some men of power look at women as a whole… they think women should never be at the same level as men simply because they are women. But I beg to differ, men need to recognize the power of women and accept her undeniable ability to stand in her truth, strength, and intelligence. Women of today are much more educated and capable of handling themselves and their tasks at work. In addition, men should recognize a woman’s ability to perform just as good as him, and her ability to be powerful in who she is and what she brings to the table. With that said, men need to learn to work with women effectively and respectively; at the same pay when qualified, for the betterment of the workplace environment and to help meet the goals of the company.
In my opinion, if more men would accept women for who they are and not consider what they see as her weakness (emotions, family issues, maternity leave, monthly cycle issues, etc.), but see her as a vibrant, intelligent human being who can stand on her own, the workplace and her pay would be better off.
⇒⇒ For insight from a male’s prospective, I have included 2 male points of view on the subject answering the same questions. Pay attention to the contrast in their answers. After you read their opinions, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Tim’s Prospective (in mid-level management):
1) Do you feel women deserve equal pay with men? Why or why not? It’s according to the job. For instance, men and women home inspectors should get paid the same, but men and women firemen or police officers should not. The reason is because men do the heavy lifting and the more dangerous things; therefore, they should be paid more.
2) Why do you think women don’t get equal pay? I’m going to answer this question honestly. I’m not going to worry about being politically correct. Women want you to treat them a certain way, so in many ways, they invite the weaker sex image. For example: they want you to open doors, pay for the meals, and they want you to protect them. Subconsciously, men grow up feeling women are weaker. But, once on a job, women want you to suddenly treat them as strong. This is a hard transition for men to adjust to, especially, since those same women once they’re outside the workplace, they revert back to the man in the gentleman role. Men also don’t quite trust women’s decisions because they seem guided by emotions. And their monthly cycle causes a change in their behavior (men see this in their wives and girlfriends), and because of this, they lack a certain ability to make “logical decisions” on a day-to-day basis, factored out over time, a woman’s decisions are not seen as equal to a man’s decision; hence, lesser pay makes sense.
3) Have you ever seen a woman use her sexuality to try to advance in her career or to get more pay? If so, how? Yes, in my capacity in mid-level management, women seem attracted to the more powerful men. They often us their sexuality to court favors with men. In my personal experience, women will flirt, stand much closer to me, and touch me more. It also shows in the clothes they wear, and the subjects they talk about; things they would not say or do if their husbands were present. This behavior goes on in small businesses and major corporation everywhere. But, getting women to admit this is almost impossible.
4) If you look at equal pay from a women’s perspective, do you understand why they are upset? Why or why not? I do understand why women are upset and I believe they deserve higher wages; however, it would require a change in society’s norms for equal pay to change. You can change laws to legislate equal pay all you want, but you can’t legislate men and women’s daily interactions, which fuels unequal pay.
5) If you had a company, would you pay your female employees the same as men, especially in management positions? Yes or no, and why? If I had a true superstar in management, I would pay what it takes to keep her. But since I’m being real, why would I pay a woman firefighter the same as a man, when she can’t handle the hose, lift the ladder, or carry a victim down the stairs? Why would I pay a woman electrician the same, when she can’t pull heavy wire or shovel as much as a man? Women ROUTINELY EXPECT men to do the heavy lifting, but demand equal pay. I don’t think equal pay is justified in those types of instances, but again, it depends on the type of job.
Donald’s Prospective (in upper management):
1) Do you feel women deserve equal pay with men? Why or why not? Yes, I believe women deserve equal pay with men. I believe that every person should be paid for the job position, which should have a salary range that would say everyone would get paid equally for that position.
2) Why do you think women don’t get equal pay? I believe that most industries do pay women equally with men, but I believe there are some that aren’t conforming to the standards because they aren’t hardly regulated by the government, and so because they aren’t hardly regulated, they’re able to get away with not doing what’s right when it comes to paying women equally.
3) Have you ever seen a woman use her sexuality to try to advance in her career or to get more pay? If so, how? In my years in management, no, I have not witnessed that.
4) If you look at equal pay from a women’s perspective, do you understand why they are upset? Why or why not? As I previously stated, I believe everyone is paid equally and I could understand her anger if a woman was in a position and felt she wasn’t being treated fairly with men.
5) If you had a company, would you pay your female employees the same as men, especially in management positions? Yes or no, and why? If I had a company everyone who worked for me would be treated fairly and equally. And salaries would be based on positions, not gender.
With the aforementioned above, I have listed some things I think can help you navigate the workplace despite the male dominance issues and pay scale inequalities.
Steps to deal with male dominance issues at work:
- If it is blatant discrimination, you should file a complaint. Be sure to keep a log by writing down anytime comments are made that are construed as discriminatory, racist or sexist. Note when, where, who and what was said.
- Is the workplace conducive to you doing your job? You should not have to work with men who are intimidating or harassing you. Be sure to take notes, as in the above, and for future reference if you need to take action down line.
- Be sure to monitor who you tell about your work issue concerns. Don’t share the problems you are having with other employees, especially male bosses. The last thing you want is a whistleblower to divulge the information when you’re not ready for it to get out. So, keep it to yourself.
- Keep doing your job the best you can. When and if the walls come tumbling down, you don’t want lack of work to be a reason and a negative that upper management can use against you. By all means, keeping doing what you are paid to do with all your might.
- Don’t give in to their fear of you. I like this one because it is about the fearlessness and power of a women and the insecurities of a man. Although he thrusts his power over you, he knows your strength, but will not admit it. Therefore, you must at all times stay strong, confident and ready for what ever comes your way.
- Stay prayed up. The bottom line is what’s for you is for you and no man can stop what God has for you. I heard someone say, don’t you conform to them, make them conform to you. Now, that’s true power. If the job is for you, their feathers will become unruffled and the crooked places will be made smooth. So, hold on and watch God work. In due time, the men treating you in such a way will come around or be removed.
All in all, laws need to be changed and enforced; but until men learn to accept and see the strength and abilities in women, nothing will change in the workplace, and women will still be fighting for equal pay, respect, and her right to stand side-by-side with a man on the job, and not be judged or harassed.
Please LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to our Blog. Thanks!
National Organization for Women. Women Deserve Equal Pay. 2019. https://now.org/resource/women-deserve-equal-pay-factsheet/
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009EQUAL. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/brochure-equal_pay_and_ledbetter_act.cfm