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Editorial Board

Women deserve better in the workplace

The gender divide is closing — but not fast enough.

This week the Stater has taken a look at the continual disparity at the workplace between men and women. More than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, we still find ourselves struggling to understand the reasons for the gender gap. There are no more excuses. Women should be treated like men.

When men and women are young and hold lower, inexperienced jobs, the gap is quite narrow. Women make 93 percent of what men do. But the ages 35 to 44 range is disturbing. These employees are at the zenith of their career. They’re motivated, they’re aggressive. Yet women only make 76 percent of what men do. They are unfairly compensated for their work.

Employees should be paid based on skills rather than sex. If an employee isn’t performing the duties the way they should be done, reflect that in the pay. But women are penalized at the starting block.

We need to change our thought process as a society. All too often, men are raised to be the “breadwinners” and are taught to take care of the “weaker sex.” As the Stater reported, there are some small differences in the biology of males and females, but those differences have no bearing on performance at the workplace. If men and women are performing the same task, they should be receiving the same pay.

Once again we stress the importance of raising children in a gender-neutral way. Girls should not be raised to be satisfied with becoming a secretary or housewife. Though both positions are admirable, girls and boys should be raised to strive for whatever positions they are interested in. Societal change happens at home.

Pregnancy and child-rearing are major setbacks to a woman’s career, but they shouldn’t be. The United States does not require employers to pay for maternity leave, even though it’s a standard in many other countries. Employers don’t take the initiative and instead give the expectant mother a pink slip.

It’s time our legislature seriously considers requiring employers to offer a minimum paid maternity or paternity leave. Those mothers shouldn’t be punished for furthering the population in a responsible way. Parents can provide a better child-rearing environment if there’s a stable income. Men are just as responsible for the pregnancy as women, yet they keep their jobs and wages. Employers should offer the benefit to both stay-at-home moms and dads.

The tides are changing. Some sociologists predict a role reversal in the decades to come. Citing standardized test scores, sociologists say women are continually improving on their scores. Men, however, have flatlined. Women are increasingly filling leadership positions. As women increasingly fill these leadership roles, it will be easier for children to emulate them. Some men have become lazy and apathetic, and women’s drive will eventually bring about change.

It’s time we stop giving men a blank check for marking the “M” box.


The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.