OPINION: Student Voices: Gender Inequality

Montpelier High School Social Studies Teacher Heather McLane assigned her students to write paragraphs sharing their opinion about an issue that they have studied, support their opinion with a bit of evidence and include a call to action. Below are some of the results.

 

Olivia Hennessey

Gender equality is a huge issue in our society, and people need to spread the word and take action. Even though a woman could have the same job and do the same work as her male co-worker, she still gets paid less because of how society treated women in the past, and still does. An average full-time employed woman makes only 78 cents to a man’s dollar. That’s a yearly difference of $7,589.00. Also it is predicted that women will make up 47.1 percent of the workforce in 2025 and then taper off to 46.3 percent by 2060, meaning that women will never make up half of the working population. It’s important to make sure that we have more women working so that people can see that there is no reason to be paid less or treated differently because of their sex. Unfortunately gender discrimination doesn’t only occur in the workplace. Women are continuously treated unfairly, and even though we have taken a large step forward, we haven’t come close to the finish line yet. Gender equality is affecting women all over the world and the best way to help is to get involved with a local committee or group working to dissolve gender discrimination, such as Vermont Works for Women or the Vermont Commission on Women.

 

Kailea Silvers

Gender equality is something women have been striving for pretty much since the beginning of time. In the past several centuries, we’ve come so far, and overcome so much, but imperfections remain. We must continue to improve in order to see the day when women and men are held to the same standards and treated as equals. A positive step in this direction is closing the gender gap between men and women who work in politics. In the US government today, only 19 percent of congressional seats are held by women, and less than 25 percent of legislators are women, even though 51 percent of the population is female. Not only does having a male-dominated legislature contradict values of “fairness” and “representative government,” but various studies have shown that having more women in legislature has a significant impact on which policies are passed. Our democracy should convey the say of the people, not the say of the men. For the progression of gender equality, it is important that both genders are equally represented in powerful positions in government. So to all females out there, show your strength, your courage and your power. Rewrite the stereotypes and go be the bold, compelling women you are!

 

Jenna Krussman

Today, men and women aren’t receiving equal pay. It has been proven that a woman only earns an average of $0.78 to a men’s $1. This number decreases for women who are African-American or Latinas. This is a major problem that is greatly affecting our economy. If women with full-time jobs received as much as men, they could receive a total of about $702 million dollars a year, which would greatly strengthen our state’s economy. This issue has greatly improved, but the 22¢ gap has a potential to become no difference at all. It is crucial that women feel that they are equal to men, because they are. Nobody gets to choose what gender they are born as, and we all should be given the same opportunities and the same pay as a man. It’s essential that we fix this and one way is to contact our Representatives in the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. Right now there is a bill, S.110, An Act Relating to Equal Pay, that could really use some help getting the attention of the committee. One way to do this is to contact the chair of the committee, Senator Kevin Mullin, by emailing him at (kjmbjm@aol.com). This is something that needs to be fixed in our society, and your phone call or email could make the difference.

 

Bella Parento

A typical issue in the United States is the well known differential of payment between men and woman. The difference is that women are being paid just .78 to the dollar of what men are paid, resulting in a gap of 22 percent. This issue is not only established in the work place, but also occurs in sports, which could also be considered an occupation for females if they were getting similar amounts of money as men are receiving. One current issue is the pay differential between the US Women’s and Men’s National Hockey team. The National Women’s Hockey League stood strongly behind their quest of equality, by “committing to its vow to boycott the world championships … if the gender gaps in the national hockey infrastructure are not improved.” This particular event has been ongoing for the past 15 months, but when the team announced that they would boycott this year’s World Championships, individuals began to realize the effect it has on the team. “This was something we needed to sacrifice. Obviously, we wanted the outcome that we did receive, but we were also willing to do, pretty much anything at this point, to really make a change,” said Amanda Pelkey, a current player on the U.S Women’s National Hockey Team who was originally from Montpelier, VT. Because of the boycott and the strong and determined actions from the team over the past couple of weeks, the U.S. Women’s National Team is now provided “with travel and insurance provisions that equal what the men’s national team receives”, as well as receiving larger performance bonuses for winning medals. From my point of view as a hockey player who dreams of wearing the U.S.A. jersey, gender inequality should have been addressed by the U.S.A. hockey organization before the World Championships were put at risk. If you recognize a problem that is affecting you and other women, like the U.S. National Team, talk about how you and others are feeling and introduce alternative ways to solve the problem to leaders of the organization. Voicing your opinion will do you justice in the future.