Feminism was once a great movement of women who fought to achieve the same rights as men. This feminism encouraged women to demand the right to vote and shatter the social norm that a woman’s only place was in the home. However, feminism has taken an unrecognizable form that is unacceptable to most women, especially conservative women.
To examine how far feminism has drifted from its initial purpose, consider these statistics. 85% of Americans believe that women and men should have equal rights, but only 18% of Americans identify as feminists. If modern feminism existed to achieve equality, this massive gap would not exist. The vast majority of Americans want equal rights for women and men, but hold a highly negative view of modern feminism. The question is, why is feminism getting such a bad rep? There are many reasons from abortion to gender theory, but I shall focus on the misleading claims of modern feminism regarding men and America.
One of the most common complaints about modern feminism is that modern feminism is used as an excuse to bash men. In fact, 52% of men, and 41% of women perceive feminism as a movement that blames men for the challenges that women face. Others despise feminism because feminists encourage the myth (among many other myths) that America is a patriarchal society where men love to make women feel inferior. In recent years, feminists have devoted a great deal of time to promoting another myth about the workforce. It is the myth that there is a wage gap in the United States where women get paid less than men for doing the same amount of work. This practice would be illegal, but it is not real.
The wage gap is the idea that women get paid between seventy-seven to eighty-two cents on the dollar that a man makes. While technically this is true, feminists falsely claim that America’s patriarchal society, designed to oppress women, is responsible for this difference. The real reason for the wage gap is not because of “the patriarchy”, but arises from the choices that women are making. The wage gap is calculated by taking the average income of women and men, then dividing the woman’s wage by the man’s wage. Depending on the current average, you will come to a number between seventy-seven and eighty-two cents on the dollar which a man earns. The question is, why is this? Why is it that men make so much more than women? The truth is, it is because of the choices women make.
I believe the biggest reason why this wage gap exists, is because men, on average, work more hours than women. If you look at the 2015 Time Use Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it shows that men work 8.2 hours per day, while women work 7.8 hours per day. While it does not seem like much, those 0.4 hours can really add up over the course of the workweek. So, the patriarchy is not to blame for the wage gap, when women are working less than men.
Another large contributor to the wage gap is the fact that women do not go into fields that pay exceptionally well. Some common jobs dominated by men include software development, project manager of construction, and computer systems administration. With these three jobs, the pay ranges from $79,000 to $93,000. While three of the most common jobs for women are nursing, elementary school teaching, and HR administration. The pay for these three jobs ranges from $35,000 to $49,000 . Some of the highest paying fields are the fields of science and math, which are dominated by men. Only 39% of chemists and material scientists, 28% of environmental scientists and geologists, 16% chemical engineers, and 12% of civil engineers are women . So there is not a problem with women getting paid less than men, but there is a problem that women are not going into these high paying fields. For some reason, women are not inclined to go into high paying fields.
Children can also affect a woman’s work performance and her income. There was a Gallup poll conducted in which the pollsters wanted to inquire whether or not women with children wanted to have a career or be homemakers. They found that 56% of women with children would rather be homemakers than have a career. That plays a role when you consider what a mother’s priorities are between her work and home life. A woman with children may not be able to work as long of a day as a man because she feels that she must be involved in the lives of her children. Having a child can also affect her opportunity for promotion. As an employer, you would not be as inclined to promote someone who is not working as much. You would rather give a promotion to someone who is more flexible and does not carry the responsibility of holding a job and raising a family. Having children would also limit a woman from working overtime and clocking more hours than usual.
Even if America was run by a patriarchy that was dead set on oppressing women, it would be illegal to pay someone less because of that person’s sex. When the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed by President John F. Kennedy it banned pay discrimination among the sexes. There is a wage gap, but it is not because America is a patriarchal society. There is a wage gap because women, on average, do not put in as many hours as men. Women, on average, go into fields where the compensation is not very high. Many women, have children, which can affect work performance, pay, and upward mobility in a company. I will admit that the wage gap is a problem. As of right now, the only solution is to encourage women to do more. If you are a woman living in the United States of America, there is nothing stopping you from doing whatever you want to do. Women in the United States are blessed to live in a country where they can say, do, and be anything. The problem is, for whatever reason, many women are not striving for more. While I do not know the reason for that, I believe that telling women that they will not make as much as a man because our society is set out to oppress women, is not the answer.