Posts Tagged ‘wages’

“It’s Her Choice” – Really?

Thanks to Ann Crittenden for submitting this guest post, which was originally published at Moms Rising Ann shows that the politics and personal aspects of motherhood are very intertwined. Be sure to check out Ann’s book The Price of Motherhood for a more in depth look.

I was struck recently by the persistence of an old argument used to kill the Fair Pay Act – and every other measure that would make life easier for mothers. You know it by heart: many women “choose” to earn less than men, and if they choose to earn less, then what’s the big deal about a little wage inequality?

This so-called “choice” argument can be superficially persuasive. Most women probably do prefer cleaner, relatively lower-paying jobs. Most women would rather be beauticians than coal miners, art teachers than mechanics. (Although this begs the question why teachers and beauticians earn so much less than mechanics and miners). Women working full-time often work fewer hours (for pay) than full-time working men. And in recent surveys, far more working women than men say they would prefer to work part-time.

Women, in short, are different from men. They’re just not as into dirt, long hours and making money. Maybe they are just …. more French!

But before you buy into this one, remember that those who benefit from the status quo always attribute inequities to the choices of the underdog. And women are still underdogs in the job market. Women working 40 hours a week still earn 86 cents for every dollar a man earns, a bigger gap than in many developed countries with more family-friendly policies. But if American women accept this willingly, then there’s nothing to worry about. It’s their choice. No one “made them do it.” So no one has to do anything about it.

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Do You Value Yourself?

Nicole Baute from The Star asked me to share some of the central messages of No Excuses when she interviewed me last week. I posted part of the interview Tuesday on the 9 Ways Blog. Here is another excerpt from that interview.

One of the things in the book that struck me was the stat that women are four times less likely to ask for a raise. Why?

I don’t think we always value our worth as much as men value their worth. Men are pretty ruthless about valuing their worth, they’re not at all timid about it. In fact, they tend to overstate their worth. Women understate their worth.

Why do women isolate themselves and try to fix things on their own?

We’re working in a workplace culture that was designed by men for men, who could work day and night because they had a woman at home taking care of the house and the kids. And that paradigm no longer works for anybody, I don’t think. So as women have entered that workplace culture, if you’re the first one, if you’re the only one in a department, you tend to try to fit yourself into the predominant culture.

That’s exactly why we need to consciously un-isolate ourselves and reach out with what I call Sister Courage. Ask another woman for help if you need it. Ask a man for help if you need it. Offer help if you think someone else needs it.

Do you think that competition — women competing with each other and women competing with men — is a barrier to asking for help?

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Announcing 9 Ways in 9 Weeks: The No Excuses Way To Embrace Your Power


Women make 78 cents for every $1 men earn? The gap is even greater for unmarried women, who make 58 cents for every $1 men earn, and for women of color, who earn 1/3 less than men. Women spend 80% of US consumer dollars. Yet they make up only 15% of corporate boardrooms where decisions are made about what will be sold to consumers. Women are the majority of voters in the US, but just 17% of Congress. There are many reason for these imbalances. But frankly, there are No Excuses any more.

Please join me in the new discussion of “9 Ways in 9 Weeks: The No Excuses Way to Embrace Your Power.” In the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring each of the 9 Ways or power tools I discuss in No Excuses. I’ll post about one of the 9 Ways each week, and I invite you to share your ideas, thoughts, and especially your stories about that power tool in your own life. There will be new video clips each week too, and other new materials and bonus items not necessarily found in the book.

This week I’m most eager to know your thoughts about these knotty (not naughty!) questions:

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See Red, Be Red for Equal Pay Day, Today

[caption id="attachment_3820" align="alignright" width="175" caption="My red shoes"][/caption]

Red happens to be my favorite color. I’m an Aries after all. A classic one according to my sister (maybe that wasn’t meant as a compliment? Pioneering, passionate courageous, dynamic they say, but also selfish, impulsive, impatient, foolhardy.). Even my planet, Mars, named for the god of war, is red.

So I laughed when tweets from AAUW and National Women’s Law Center (NLRC), two organizations that have been pushing for the Paycheck Fairness Act and have declared this Blogging for Fair Pay Day, told me to wear red today.

No problem. I’ll just close my eyes and pull something out of my closet. It’ll more than likely be red.

There are many fabulous people blogging today about the fact that women make on average 78 cents to every $1 earned by a man, and women of color earn even less: African-American women earn 62¢, Latinas earn 53¢ for $1 earned by white, non-Hispanic men. NLRC can tell you how the comparison shakes down in your state.

Rather than write a long diatribe, I want to link Heartfeldt readers to some sources I’ve found particularly compelling or useful.

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