The Inequalities of The 21st Century: The Wage Gap

By Mary Wollstonecraft

Women’s education is a subject that I’m very familiar with. I’ve stated numerous times that given the opportunity and the same education that men are given, women will prove to be just as capable and intelligent as the men. I wrote about this topic extensively in The Vindication Of the Rights Of Women “Contending for the rights of women, my main argument is based on this simple principle, that if she be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the process of knowledge and virtue;” (Wollstonecraft, 25). Obviously my viewpoint on women’s education was eventually taken seriously since girls are able receive the same education as boys are. I’m glad to see that this development took place because I always believed that “truth must be common to all, or it will be inefficacious with respect to its influence on general practice” (Wollstonecraft, 25). People once said that educating women “will bring them to see the littleness of their own (mind)”(More, 63) and that “every raw girl, while she reads is tempted to fancy that she can also write” (More, 63). The first statement by Hannah More was proven wrong and so was the second, anyways, there is nothing wrong with reading and writing. Still, I’m disappointed to find that despite the fact that women have more than proved their intelligence and work ethic during school, when it come to the work force, the discrimination is still there. In my day work was for men and lower-class women, but from my time in this modern era women make up at least half of the total work force, and sometimes more (depending on the profession). Imagine my surprise and dismay when I learned that despite all of the strides in women’s rights and issues we’ve made women still make less than men for doing the same jobs. Currently women make 78.3% as much as men age 16 and older (this is calculated by dividing the median annual earnings for women by the median annual earnings for men). If you want it broken down even further, according to the census bureau in 2016 women make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. It seems that despite our best efforts the general public still does not believe that we as women are just as capable at doing our jobs as men are. People still dispute the fact that the wage gap exists even though there are multiple sources (including the official census) that clearly say otherwise. Now, I’m used to people thinking that my views are vulgar, and/or unladylike, I’ve been called “unnatural” and “Licentious” and “driven by godless “reason””(Polwhele, 55). However, I thought that in this day and age where statistic and information are at your fingertips (thanks to those strange devices called phones and computers) people would look at the facts; and wouldn’t be so susceptible to the strong pull of stereotypes and age-old prejudices. Despite the strides that women’s education has made in the U.S and  Europe I understand that there are still some countries where it’s very difficult for a women to receive an education. It seems to me that women’s fight for equality is far from over, and that our societal views that women are somehow lesser than our male counterparts run much deeper than I imagined.I can see that women “are still reckoned a frivolous sex”(Wollstonecraft, 30).

So much has improved since my time; yet the issues of equality of mankind is still very much unresolved. It pains me to think that our social justice issues will not be solved before my death, nor will it be solved anytime soon in the year 2016. However, see how much has changed from the Victorian era to 2016 does show me that change does happen whether people like it or not. Even though many people in 2016 see that the country has taken a few steps backwards, I still firmly believe that our society will slowly but surely correct itself, because when it comes down to it “intellect will always govern” (Wollstonecraft, 30).

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