The Pay Gap and Why it Needs to be Eradicated

%22%23CSW61+%E2%80%93+Symbolic+Work+Stoppage+to+Mark+Gender+Pay+Gap%22+by+UN+Women+Gallery+is+licensed+under+CC+BY-NC-ND+2.0

UN Women/Ryan Brown

“#CSW61 – Symbolic Work Stoppage to Mark Gender Pay Gap” by UN Women Gallery is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ryley Douglass, Staff Writer

Have you ever noticed that women are often treated as though they are less than worthy just because of their gender? Jane Austen wrote the novel, Pride and Prejudice, with the theme that men are the gatekeepers to society and often women are treated as less than worthy.

“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any,” Jane Austen wrote. An example of this is the pay gap between men and women. Although gender equality has improved, eliminating the pay gap between men and women should be a very high priority of society. 

Gender equality has been an end-goal that women have been striving toward for years, but it still hasn’t been achieved and one example of that is the pay gap. The pay gap should be a high priority of society to fix. 

Over 100 years after Pride and Prejudice was written, the nineteenth amendment was added to the constitution, granting women the right to vote, which is shown on Women’s Rights Timeline. After fighting for so long to get the simple right to vote, women still aren’t seen as professional equals to men and that is the reason for the pay gap. Women hold ⅔ of outstanding student debt and because of the pay gap, they have a significantly harder time repaying that debt. Fixing the pay gap should be a high priority of society because women are seeking higher education but then they are left with a lot of debt that can’t be repaid as quickly as men can repay theirs. 

Some may argue that eliminating the pay shouldn’t be a high priority of society. Some may argue that eliminating the pay gap would work against reaching equality between men and women. “Eradicating the pay gap could work against women’s true interests by interfering with their preferred choices, such as less demanding careers.” Jordan Peterson wrote in an article.

Women fundamentally strive for less than men do, insinuating that women only prefer less demanding careers and never long for more than society offers them. However, it is proven that women perform well in higher levels of education. An article by American Association of University Women states that although women outpace men in higher education, they have more student debt. Many women have become CEOs, which is a very demanding job, in fact, “24 percent of CEOs in the US were women but they earned 74.5 percent as much as male CEOs” as said by the International Labour Organization. 

Things have indeed changed since Jane Austen wrote “Pride and Prejudice,” but men remain the gatekeepers of society. This is evident through the clear divide between the recognition of the accomplishments of men and women. 

There are many solutions to fix the pay gap that we could take, however fixing the unconscious biases that have been so heavily engraved into society and media will take effort. 

A way we can mend this problem is to encourage companies to pay men and women equally for equal work. Another way we can begin to fix this is to encourage girls to dream big and make sure they don’t feel unworthy because of society’s standards. Educating and teaching others is the most important way in which we can change the world and mend the problems that have been ingrained in society ever since history has been recorded.

Most of all, advocate for those whose voices have been silenced. These may seem like small ways to contribute, but the small steps we take are the ones that will eventually carry us into a place of equality. This is a very difficult dragon to fight, but as the courageous men and women in the past who have changed the world through their words and their actions have, we must raise our voices to change this sexist society that we live in. As Jane Austen herself said, “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”