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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Truth about Women's Work

FEMINISM - How much are women paid in Canada and the United States?

In Canada the average woman earns 72.5 cents for every dollar a man earns.

In the United States the pay equity is 77.8 cents, but only only 71 cents for African American women and 58 cents for Latinas.

Both countries have pay equity laws, but the differences is actually the type of work men and women generally do. Men gravitate towards high paying factory work or management positions, whereas women tend to get jobs in the service industry and are overlooked for promotions into a managerial position.

Although truthfully, some women also reject promotions because they choose their families over spending more time on their career (see the Career and Family Dilemma). Some of them might even be single parents and thus don't really have time for a highly demanding career. Nothing wrong with that, if anything its a moment where we should criticize men for taking promotions and becoming a neglectful father.

Some promotions, I believe, should be given to people who are single and don't have children to worry about. Of course, some parents might argue against this idea because they're also thinking of terms of more money, better job security and hopefully providing more for their child's education/etc. Evidently it is a balancing act and open to personal interpretation.

Then there is a different matter... unpaid women's work. Or more specifically, domestic work such as cooking and cleaning (because technically a stay-at-home dad could also do those tasks). Its notoriously difficult to track domestic work, and its not just "cooking and cleaning". It could also cover gardening, home repairs, renovations and car repairs for those who like to do-it-themselves. Some economists have tried to measure what the economic contribution such things are...

But frankly I think its impossible to measure and wholly inaccurate. There is a dramatic difference between domestic partners who stay at home, cook, clean, fix the car, renovate the house, grow tomatoes/potatoes/peas/corn, sews/mends their clothes and darns their socks... and the type of person who just sits at home watching TV or playing computer games all day. One is evidently an economic benefit to the family unit... whereas the other is dependent and seemingly incapable of making themselves useful.

And then there's the value of parenting itself. Teaching your children life skills and morals. How do you put a price on that?

By that time you get to that, and assuming the person isn't a neglectful parent, you realize their value becomes incalculable and how important good parenting is.

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