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The Suburbanite
  • Jean Nero: The more things change, the more they ...

  • It’s disappointing that three years later, women still earn less than men, doing the same job.

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  • As I watched a news report last week, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or vomit. A national survey revealed that today’s women are being paid 77 cents, while a male is being $1 to do the same job.
    Guess what? In February 2009, I wrote a column quoting a news source that revealed “women still make roughly 77 cents to a male colleague’s dollar.”
    Papa was right when he said, “Change, change but nothing really changes.” What happened here? What are those blockheads called congressmen (or women?) doing for us?
    We’ve changed how we communicate, the instruments we drive, the planes we fly, the computers, the TV sets, the phones, even the food we eat. But nothing has changed when we evaluate the work of a woman? Is all your talk about “justice” another discarded value?
    You’d march in protest if you found out a man who is either black or an immigrant is not getting a fair wage or treatment on the job, but would you do it for a woman?
    NOTHING HAS CHANGED
    The answer lies in the news story: Women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar doing the same quality work. Why has nothing changed?
    The first bill President Barack Obama signed after he took office in 2008 was the one on “equal pay rights.” Hello? We’re still waiting. If you think I’m just yakking like a feminist, check this out: Years ago I left a major public relations job because they refused me a raise I earned. They replaced me with a man, starting him at $8,000 a year more than I got for same work.
    Yes, some things have changed. For the third time, we have female secretary of state. Margaret Thatcher is acclaimed for leading Britain, and a brilliant woman was just named CEO of a major company. But it’s just not about women who can play now golf at a men’s club in Augusta.
    It’s about what you are doing for the more than 40 million women who must work to support two children because their father left them. Or who supports a handicapped spouse or an elderly parent in their home. But, then again, wages should not be based on need, but based on qualifications and quality of work.
    When I buy groceries at Fisher Foods, no one asks whether the meat is for a man or woman; they just charge me $6.98 a pound.
    If I buy lettuce, it’s $1.89 a head, and they demand $2.49 for milk no matter the buyer. So, why am I getting paid less than a man when I do the same quality of work?
    TRAGEDY FOR THE AGES
    Searching for an answer, I remembered a story in classic literature called “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, staged in 411 B.C.
    Page 2 of 2 - Lysistrata is an educated, community-active woman in Greece who is upset about war. She sets out to unite all the women, asks them to deny sex to their men every day until the men stop making war. The women vow to do it. It works for a while. The dialogue is hilarious.
    Would such a plan work now? I doubt it. Like so many good strategies, the men would find a way to screw up this, too, and women still will earn less than men while doing the same work.
    When I got angry, I used to yell, “Wait ’til you get to heaven and find out God is a woman!” Sis scolded, saying, “God is neither male nor female.” She’s probably right. But can you imagine men trying to explain this at the Golden Gate?