08 Mar 2014

Half of the World: Women’s International Month

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Women’s rights is one of the biggest topics of the last century.  To focus on women, March 8th was declared International Women’s Day, and the entire month of March is Women’s International Month. Here at Rockaway Care Center, our elder care residents are fortunate to have witnessed the many changes over the last few decades – some of our residents were even around when women’s suffrage (the right to vote) became law.

To introduce the discussion, here are a few trivia questions to test your knowledge about women’s rights in the US.

Question #1: When did women get the vote in the US?

  1. 1920
  2. 1923
  3. 1898
  4. 1932

The answer is “A” – 1920. Women suffragists’ 150 years+ struggle pinnacled at the win of the 19th amendment proclaiming that suffrage could not be a function of gender.

Question #2: What year was the first woman candidate nominated for US vice president?

  1. 1984
  2. 2008
  3. 1848
  4. 2012

The correct answer is “C” – 1848. The nomination went to Liberty Party candidate Lucretia Mott, a Quaker minister and activist abolitionist.

Question #3: Has the women-to-men pay gap closed? That is to say, for the same job, do women and men earn the same salary?

  1. Yes. Women and men with the same qualifications are likely to earn the same salary.
  2. No, men earn more. Where women and men have the same qualifications, men are likely to earn more.
  3. No, women earn more. Where women and men have the same qualifications, women are likely to earn  more.

The correct answer is: B – No, men earn more. Even configuring for differences in hours and types of pay (flex time versus a higher salary), it seems as if the gap is still at least a few percentage points in favor of men. Using engineering majors as an example, the first jobs landed out of college garnered women an average of $48,000/year, but men $53,000/year, according to the American Association of University Women. That’s about 90 cents earned by women to every $1 by men.

But 20 years ago that figure was around 70%, so using these statistics as a measure, it seems the gap is narrowing substantially.

Give it time –  the current trajectory indicates that women will have equal salaries, and likewise, it stands to reason that soon the US will have a woman president.

But all of this is about women’s status in politics and professional positions. Let’s take it down a notch to the every day. What do you appreciate about the women in your life? Who do you admire, and why? Women’s roles are not only measured in professional accomplishments and a rise in status in society, but how women contribute as women.

Think about the women who reside, work, or visit at Rockaway Care Center, and the roles they play in your lives. Be it family, friends, or staff members, use International Women’s Month to focus on what you love about the women in your life, no matter their status.

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