Women expect, for the most part, to earn less than men. It is the most obvious indicator of gender inequality still in effect today, though sexual harassment and other issues are still problems in today’s society. Women know this, but some even forget that these are issues. The question is, do these commonplace inequalities have any effect psychologically on women?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released statistics for women’s earnings in 2008, and even then, women were earning only 80 percent of what men were. This calculation was made for women and men who were full-time wage and salary workers. Understandably, this is a major accomplishment since 1979, when women earned only 62 percent of what men earned, according to the BLS.
The only labor area where women seem to prevail is part-time work, since they earn a higher weekly median amount than men. However, that is also because men who have part-time jobs also tend to be younger than most of the women who have part-time jobs. It is assumed that older people generally earn more than younger people, so this doesn’t seem to be a victory.
Just reading the above statistics might have made you feel gloomier, because no one really wants to be thought of as less than another person, especially when the reason is gender. What are women doing about this? Do women know their limited rights?
From personal experience, most of the women I know don’t put a priority on women’s equality. Most don’t take it to heart that they are getting paid less than their male counterparts, but then again, it generally is not noticeable at entry-level jobs. It seems that most women I have encountered have accepted their fate and are hoping that others will fight for them. To feel defeated consistently in at least one area of life can have definite psychological effects. In any case, even the humiliation women can face when comparing their pay and abilities to similar men can be frustrating.
Women are not treated now as badly as they were before they received voting privileges and some extra rights and protections, but the fact that they are not fully equal legally is even more appalling.