Americans believe that everyone is created equal. Thomas Jefferson was the first person to use the phrase “all men are created equal” in the United States Declaration of Independence (US 1776) which was written during the beginning of the American Revolution. This statement is one of the most important American values because it specifies that we hold it as truth that everyone is equal and shares the same basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “Why shouldn’t men and women be treated the same? To have equal rights and equal pay, that should really be our aim” (Perry).
Historically, the word “man” or “men” was used to imply “humankind” so this statement was not intended to be sexually discriminatory. It applies to women as well as men. No matter what race or sex, all people are equal and are entitled to the same privileges. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. During America’s early history, women were denied many of the key rights given to male citizens. Married women were not allowed to own property and had to give their husband any money they earned. No females had the right to vote. They were expected to focus on housework and motherhood. Since then progress has been made. In the 1920s an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote. But still, in some southern states, African American women were unable to vote until the 1960s.
The Women’s Rights Movement began in 1848. Fighting for their natural born rights. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” (Mead). Margaret Mead made this statement after observing cultures around the world and how cultures develop, and how change is brought about. Women fought for the right to vote. A second wave began in the 1960’s to address other issues including equal employment opportunity which led to an equal rights amendment.
It has taken decades for women to enter the workforce and be recognized as equal to their male coworkers. Still, there is a large gender wage gap. Men’s salaries are higher than women’s. The Washington Post published that, “the gender wage gap just shrank for the first time in a decade” (Paquette). The U.S. Census Bureau reported that women are closing the pay gap with men. White and Asian female workers have seen more income growth than men, but women still make less money as a group than men. Wages for Hispanic women have remained stable, while pay for African American women has declined. The female to male earnings ratio is 80.5%, the highest ever and up from 80% in 2014 (Paquette).
More women are working in the technology industry. The New York Times reported that “the tech industry has made progress that is ‘good but not sufficient’ Satya Nadella, said the chief executive officer of Microsoft” (Hsu). In addition to equal pay for equal work, there is the issue of equal opportunity for equal work. In the technology industry, as in every other occupation, there is still a long way to go.
1- Hsu, Tiffany. Microsoft C.E.O. Says Tech’s Progress on Gender Equality is Not Sufficient. The New York Times. 26 Sept. 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/business/satya-nadella-microsoft-gender-equality.html
2- Paquette, Danielle. The Gender Wage Gap Just Shrank for the First Time in a Decade. The Washington Post. 15 Sept. 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/15/the-gender-wage-gap-just-shrank-for-the-first-time-in-a-decade/?utm_term=.073493002d9f
3- Perry, Shannon. Equality: He for She. 2016. https://hellopoetry.com/words/genderequality/.
4- Mead, Margaret. Earth Day Speech. 1970. https://todayinsci.com/M/Mead_Margaret/MeadMargaret-Quotations.htm
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