Sunday, July 19, 2009

Socio-economic Status

Systems of inequality are evident in women’s work inside the home in many areas. In my own home, for example, my mother does all the cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, etc. You name it, and odds are, my mother has performed the task in our household. My mother also holds a steady job. I do not, however, resent my dad for his non-participation in these tasks, because a lot of men see the household in the way that they saw their own households when they were children. Also, my dad worked hard to get where he is today, and his background (his childhood and early adulthood) had a lot of rough bumps that he had to plow through to get where he is today.

Also, my mom was one of those mothers that chose to stay home with the kids instead of continuing to work. When my mom left her job, she was making more money than my dad. If she had stayed in that job, I’m sure she would have still been making more than my dad. Their decisions, however, were made because they wanted to have children and my dad was gaining a lot of opportunities in his office. My mom chose the domestic life because that’s what she wanted, and she enjoyed it. When her children got older, however, she had a lot of free time on her hands and a part of her wanted to go back to work, so she did. It wasn’t easy, but within four months of getting her new job she was already promoted to the head of her accounting office. If that doesn’t scream success, then I really don’t know what does. I am so proud of both of my parents.

I do wish, however, that my dad would try doing some of the typical ‘woman jobs’ around the household. I think that he probably did during the year or so that he had to live in Virginia by himself while we finished school in New Jersey before moving down with him (he got a promotion and we had to move to Virginia, but my oldest sister only had one more year of high school and I only had one more year of middle school so we decided to finish them in New Jersey). During that year, he had to do his own laundry, cooking, & cleaning. I won’t say he gained a greater appreciation of my mother (because he has always appreciated her, endlessly), but I think he understood more about what kind of difficult tasks she performed on a daily basis.

Wow, and that was only the first question. To get back on track, I think women experience sexism in the paid labor force because, on average, their salaries are a few thousand dollars less than that of men. Which is extremely unfortunate. It honestly perturbs me that this is the way it is in society. I think ‘colorism’ (haha), shapes the ways women experience sexism in the paid labor force because they are sometimes paid even less than that of white women. I don’t know why we see status this way, it is very inhumane. I can’t say that I have experienced discrimination in the work force. Partly because I don’t know the salaries of my co-workers, and overall I haven’t been sexually harassed or asked to do a different task than a male because it would better adapt to my skills.

I think the perception of ‘women’s work’ has affected women inside the home by allowing household tasks such as the ones I mentioned before, fall into the hands of women by default. Outside the home, women usually take jobs that don’t involve too much manual labor because these jobs are seen as being predominantly male. They think women are too fragile to handle such jobs. I think women are more at risk for experiencing poverty because they attempt to hold jobs, care for their children, and put their children through school all at the same time. It is way too much to ask of a woman.

To make things equal, I think wages need to be given that are equal in annual salary for both men AND women. I also think that all daycare should be free, so that women aren’t forced to pay money out of their checks (that they use primarily for the survival of these children and themselves) that could be better used for things such as food and education.

1 comment:

  1. Daycare is a requirement for many families now since the main caregivers are often gone to work. School provides this somewhat; however, children must be a certain age before they can be left alone on their own (i.e., coming back from school and being alone until their parents get back).

    Many countries have free daycare programs, but their culture puts a stronger emphasis on items outside of money to make something like that possible.