Gender inequality: Not new to many people right? The article, Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school, however, raises awareness about the wage gap between men and women. Kari Schott and other members of the Young Democrats club at Jordan High School did a bake sale where “boys will pay a dollar and girls only pay 77 cents” (Schott, 2015). Some may say this is discriminatory and that it isn’t fair to charge one gender one price and the latter another but the truth is that wages between men and women are unequal, that “in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 77 cents” (Schott, 2015). It is for this same reason that the club set up the prices accordingly – to bring gender inequality to light and to inform people about the systemic and discriminatory predicament in many societies. To demonstrate an example of the systemic discrimination amongst the sexes, let’s look at Patricia Arquette’s Oscar winning speech regarding the pay gap between men and women in the film industry. She states “it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America” (Arquette, 2015). She has taken a different approach to the traditional “I want to thank…” Oscar speech. She used the white privilege and the social/economic class that has been granted to her, in a suited setting where millions of viewers would be watching, and where dominant male actors are present, to inform of the issue at hand. This speech alone created uproar on twitter and other social medias. There are many messages, even amongst well-known female actors, thanking Arquette for raising awareness to an often ‘-hushed’ issue. Hollywood actors have all different kinds of skills that they bring to the table. That doesn’t mean that one gender is more able than the other to perform just as well, nor does make it okay to adjust the salary based on hegemonic masculinity – the notion that masculinity is powerful and dominant – present in male-dominant directors and the patriarchal societies that many people still live in (Aulette and Wittner, 2015). So far, this has focused on white dominant figures in popular culture and white privilege pertaining to the wage gap. What if that same privilege wasn’t granted to everybody? What about the intersection between gender and race? Sure the statistics say that women earn 77 cents per dollar men make, but this just shows the average amongst all women. What would happen if one looks closely to insectionality? – Where two or more factors contribute to the oppression of the marginalized group (Aulette and Wittner, 2015). On AAUW, it states that “Asian American and white women had higher weekly take-home pay than African American and Hispanic or Latina women did in 2012” (AAUW, 2014). Although the wage gap wasn’t as large between the minorities, in comparison to dominant white culture, those figures stood out the most (AAUW, 2014). For example, a woman of Hispanic or Latina descent would earn only 53% of the earnings of a white male as of 2012 (AAUW, 2014). This statistic shows how skewed societal wage-earning norms are in American societies. How is it just to not only decrease salary based on gender but to also include the intersection of race? How can such societies continue to operate in this fashion? This is a result of not only white supremacy but also the continuous gender inequality. To close, its unbelievable to know that because of someone’s gender, it hinders one’s opportunity to gain success financially. This notion has been engraved in many of patriarchal and male dominant employers as tradition: Men are the breadwinners and dominant figures in the household while women stay home and tend to the children – also know as emphasized femininity – womanhood that is dominated by men (Aulette and Wittner, 2015). I applaud the Young Democrats club at Jordan High School for challenging these notions and traditions to demonstrate how silly charging different prices for cookies is as silly as lowering wages based on gender. It’s quite interesting how language can contribute to how things are perceived by one’s lens. If you look closely, the title of the article insinuates that the bake sale created an issue, as opposed to the bake sale bringing awareness to an issue. It is tactics like these where these corrupted traditions will remain a reality and the norm if such attempts of gender equality is described as ‘stirring up’ a problem (Carlisle, 2015). I leave you a quote from the author of Introduction: Blame it on Feminism – “The fact that these are still such incendiary notions should tell us that American women have a way to go before they enter the promised land of equality” (Faludi, 1991).
AAUW. How Does Race Affect The Gender Wage Gap?. 2014. http://www.aauw.org/2014/04/03/race-and-the-gender-wage-gap/ Accessed on April 8th, 2015
Aulette, Judy Root and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. Third Edition. 2015. Accessed on April 8th, 2015.
Carlisle, Randall. Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school. 2015. http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q Accessed on April 8th, 2015.
Faludi, Susan. Introduction: Blame it on Feminism, First Edition. 1991.https://ereserves.library.queensu.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=S054614377V&Action=10&Type=10&Value=13761 Accessed on April 8th, 2015.
Ness, Adgoy. Watch Patricia Arquette’s gender equality Oscars speech. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIsogVmv7g0 Accessed on April 8th, 2015.