Growing up, my mom and dad shared the responsibility of bringing home the bacon…well, the proverbial bacon — we’re Jewish. Anyway, my mom was a realtor and good at her job, but I’ll never forget her main competitor. His wife didn’t work and he was a jerk, the kind of guy who used too much hair grease and put his cheesy head shot up at bus stops. While my mother kept me in enriching after school programs, this other slick Realtor dude would scam his clients for sympathy by dragging his son around to meetings. One particular prospective female client even told my mother she was going to go with this guy because he was really his family’s breadwinner. Puke — that’s some serious girl-on-girl crime! I was always proud of my mama for Mary Tyler Moore-ing it up in the face of sexist foolishness, but apparently this chauvinist realtor isn’t the only man who has cashed in on close-mindedness.
Back in 1979, psychologists at the University of Florida interviewed nearly 13,000 girls and boys between the ages of 14 and 22. They asked the subjects questions like “Do you think women should work?” and “Do you think employing women will cause a rise in juvenile delinquency?” Then, they tracked those kids all the way to today, conducting five more rounds of questioning that wrapped up in 2005. As it turns out, over the years, as working women became more socially acceptable and economically important, more of the guys came around and supported the female work force. They got hip, hooray! However, the other men surveyed who still felt that a lady’s place was in was the home, tended to make more money than their feminist male counterparts. Boo!
Luckily, those brave women who survived the “9-to-5″ work place like they were Dolly Parton, actually, on average, made $1,500 more than fellow employed women with “traditional” values who wished they had the means to stay home. It seems having a guilt complex about supporting your family by working outside the home actually takes its real toll financially.
Unfortunately, those of us who thought equal pay for equal work was a fight that ended with the ’80s, were sadly wrong. Just like Ray-Bans and leggings, sexism in the workplace is hardly over. So, before we let ourselves give a gender-biased discount, we have to ask one question: Why are we women still rewarding people who don’t value us? [BBC]