Editorial: Continuing the fight for women’s equality

Editorial: Continuing the fight for women’s equality

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For more than 35 years, March has been set aside to honor American women who have made their mark on history.

Over this time, Women’s History Month has evolved into a period to reflect on women’s roles in the country and the steps made to further equality, an effort that is still unfinished. While there’s no denying that women have come a long way over the decades, more work must be done.

Unfortunately, in this 21st century, countless women don’t earn the same as their male counterparts, who do the same exact job as they do. Sometimes, women even find themselves in work situations where they make less than men who don’t have as much experience or education as they do.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1979 women who were full-time, salary workers had earnings that were 62% of men. In 2020, the gap closed somewhat but not completely, with women on average making 82% of what men make in similar jobs. Females of color make even less.

Women are underpaid in many fields, including the media. A 2021 study researching the newsrooms of 14 Gannett-owned newspapers found women earned up to $27,000 less annually than men, according to the labor union NewsGuild. That equates to 63% of the median salary of males in the same roles.

The days of women working only to earn some spending money are long gone. Today, society doesn’t limit women to feeling as if they can only choose to be a secretary, teacher or nurse. Girls can grow up to be whatever they aim to be and, just like men, females have college loans that must be paid for and carry the burden of household expenses. In an era where two incomes are often needed to own a home, and there are single mothers and women looking to build a future of their own, paying women only 82% of what men make is inexcusable.

Females deserve the same respect as males in every aspect, yet they are still fighting on every level. Another distressing example of what females experience comes from a survey conducted by the Seattle University Department of Communication and Media which reported 79% of 115 women journalists surveyed feared online abuse. Such harassment could put a female reporter in a position where she may fear covering certain kinds of stories. Preying on women journalists to prevent them from properly doing their job is unconscionable.

Women have the right to choose whatever career path they desire. When they land their dream job, they deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts and to be treated with respect.

Women’s History Month reminds us that the fight for equality is universal. Men require strong women, and vice versa. Today’s females stand on the shoulders of the women and men who have fought for their equality. 

Let us continue their work. Let us envision a world that will be better for the girls who follow in our footsteps.