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Moe Aye

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Equal pay for both genders?

Till this day, women in the workforce are being paid 15% less than men. I've read many articles and come to realization that there are people, even women (with their culturally different values) that are against equal pay because of human nature; pregnancy. A paid leave of absence because of pregnancy is said to be 'unfair' to men, although single fathers express their opinions, people just don't listen. How can we fix this gap? What does it take to persuade everyone that no matter who we are, we all have the same rights to work just as hard and get paid just as much?

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    Nov 20 2013: Equal pay for same work. Seems a no brainer.
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      Nov 20 2013: Hi Obey!
      I agree with your comment, and I'm wondering......

      Does it suggest that those who do not agree with equal pay for same work may not be effectively using all of the brain???....:>)
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      Nov 20 2013: I wish it was like this. Everyone makes this more complicated than it is, but I guess it's just our way of thinking.
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        Nov 21 2013: When I worked in Asia, I found some of my female reports were paid much less than males at the same manager level. Their previous manager had deliberately given family man bigger salary increases than the single females. I guess I've been indoctrinated to think that unfair. Others have been indoctrinated to think that it is okay.

        These sorts of attitudes are hard to change.

        I just suggest there are degrees in different places. Also different laws. What happened in Asia is probably illegal in Australia.

        suggest laws against this type of discrimination are one part of the solution. Workplace policies and communication of these another, etc. A multifaceted long term approach.
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        Nov 22 2013: I agree Moe.....some folks make this more complicated than it is. Equal pay for the same work seems simple, logical and reasonable. It is the underlying thoughts, feelings, prejudices and many years of programming that make it seem complicated for some people to actually apply. As you write in another comment Moe, there are all kinds of beliefs that support inequality for some people.

        The idea that women are not as physically strong as men......well......there ARE some women who are as physically strong as some men, and if they qualify for a certain job, they should get equal pay.

        The idea that women are too emotional, and therefore will not function in a leadership role. We are seeing many women in leadership roles functioning very well. Then they are accused of being too aggressive!!!

        There are still a lot of myths and underlying inaccurate information which sometimes influences the perception of equality for some people. I really believe it is changing......slowly maybe....and I know that change takes time......as Obey says....attitudes are hard to change.
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    Nov 18 2013: Hey Moe....nice to connect with you again:>)

    YES......absolutely equal pay for both genders when they are doing the same job!

    It doesn't seem like the argument that "pregnancy is said to be unfair to men" holds much value these days. Men are given the same rights, and one of these sites says that 88% of new dads do not take advantage of paternity leave for dads!

    http://www.babycenter.com/0_paternity-leave-what-are-the-options-for-dads_8258.bc

    http://www.babycenter.com/0_paternity-leave-what-are-the-options-for-dads_8258.bc

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/88-of-dads-pass-on-paid-paternity-leave-2013-05-09

    http://www.maternityaction.org.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/fathersandpartners.pdf
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      Moe Aye

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      Nov 18 2013: This is very helpful. Thank you, Colleen, it's nice to see you again :)
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    Nov 18 2013: Great conversation, Moe. You propose an interesting topic which is discussed all aver the world. In my opinion, it's more discussed in certain countries than in others (those where the cultural or liveng standards are not too high); it's something like ' if we are discussing about it, we live in an advanced society ' ... In my opinion, absolutely nothing justifies different wages for men and women if they have the same level or similar skills. Men and women are -os must be- always completely equally treated...
    If not so, something works wrong.
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      Nov 19 2013: I fight for both men's and women's rights and yet it is frowned upon to talk about this because society sees itself as perfect and untouchable. We need to break this barrier somehow. There are cultural and generations of religious beliefs that is also involved in this act.
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        Nov 19 2013: I totally agree. It's necessary everybody doing their best to make equal men and women (they -we- are equal for natural law). The fight is hard and long lasting. It depends on what countries or ages are we speaking about. But, if we all do not assume the task, the task will remain undone.
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        Nov 19 2013: In what setting is it frowned upon to talk about this popular and widely discussed subject? Are you saying it is a taboo at your school, or among your friends, or in your city?

        Just as an example, the Fall/Winter magazine from my son's high school arrived yesterday and is entitled: Gender matters: How It Plays Out on Campus. There are six feature stories on the subject.

        Then when my spouse, who works within local government, came home and I asked about his day, he mentioned they all filled out another survey about gender equity in the workplace.

        Here is a June article about gender equity in the workplace from what I believe is your major newspaper (rather than, say an underground paper): http://www.azcentral.com/business/news/articles/20130522female-ceo-arizona-few.html

        But if you go to the website for the paper and type in gender equity in the search box, you will find many others.

        Here is a listing of articles on this widely discussed subject from the New York Times, also a mainstream newspaper: http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/#/gender+inequality

        You will find lots of discussion on Oprah's website as well, also mainstream.

        "Society" doesn't see itself at all. People do and the claim that people think society is perfect and untouchable would be extremely hard to support with evidence, because criticism for failings is very common, including widespread belief that the country is going in all the wrong directions, that "other' people's values have been distorted and polluted by media or institutional influences, and so forth.

        Are you honestly observing that students at your school or people in your city think "society is perfect and untouchable?"

        It is an important topic but I do not know how you could say it is generally frowned upon to talk about it in the 21st century. It is discussed all the time.
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          Nov 20 2013: This usually happens when students are involved in a romantic relationship. I had a friend who is now completely heartbroken, almost even going as far as to say that she would do literally anything for him just to get him. It's a pathetic sight. These students don't like politics but they tend to comment on what's right or wrong without thinking about it. It's a stage that almost every child goes through in findnig their roles in the future. Girls here are either pregnant or thinking about marriage and although it's not common, it's also not uncommon to find some who rebel against these ideas. There's no balance, and it creates a gap between what men think the roles of women should be and what women think men's roles should be.

          The media of course plays a part in this because it uses propaganda. Not everything about the U.S is bad, but changing some things that'll help the future generations is a role that we all take part in whether we're doctors or housekeepers.

          What I mean by 'frowned upon' is that, no one takes their time to think deeply about this. It's like opening a Times magazine and reading an article on Malaria. Do readers act to save these dying children? Most of them don't. Why? Because it's not their child that's dying of Malaria or starving to death. There are rape jokes that are passed around in my class and women laugh at it. Why? Because they're not the ones getting raped. Because the majority of people says "It's just a joke, get over it," it becomes a chain reaction because this used a popular propaganda technique, bandwagon. They don't realize it of course, but that adds up to what society, at least in my teenage one, finds acceptable and what's not.
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        Nov 20 2013: I think you will find when you leave high school that what you are experiencing in the perspectives of your local teens is far from universal for people in general and I would go so far as to say uncommon among adults in this country.

        If rape jokes are being passed around in class, I strongly encourage you to speak to a school counselor to get this matter on the radar of school administrators. Have you reported this?

        Most of us have been involved in and often exposed to discussions of subjects like gender equity for the majority of the years of our lives, as students, socially, and in the workplace.

        I hope you have an opportunity to go to college in a different town or state. I expect you will appreciate being exposed to a much greater diversity of views than you do at your high school.
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    Nov 18 2013: well, I thoroughly agree, Moe, if a woman is doing equal work it would be awful to make less pay. As far as I know, there are many laws to protect women against this kind of discrimination, at least in the United States, if a woman finds she is being subjected to it, she should use these laws to change the situation.

    On the guys telling their girlfriends to go make them a sandwich, um, well, first of all, are they telling them to, as though they are ordering them, or asking them to? 'Cause I can't see where they have a right to order them to, it's not like they are in the military and the guy is the superior officer. What is the context when they ask, is it a situation where they really want a sandwich, or do they do it as a way to put the women down, for example, they are having an intellectual discussion, and the girl makes some intellectual point, the guy goes "Oh, go make me a sandwich," meaning "The intellectual point you're making is not valid, all you're good for is making a sandwich." That seems wrong, too, if I were the girl in that situation, I would just say, "What, you're saying the point I'm making is not valid? Tell me why you think it's not valid," this way the guy has to show respect and stick to the topic and you're making him show his intellectual arguments. People will try to sidetrack you, Moe, it doesn't just happen to girls in their interactions with guys, it happens guy on guy, girl on girl, adult on child, Christian on atheist, in life you have to develop some strategies for people trying to sidetrack you.
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      Nov 20 2013: Not a lot of people are willing to step up. Mostly because if they are going to sue the company or the division she works in, she is most likely going against something pretty big. And because of selfishness, most companies usually like to pay them off in case the employee causes a ruckus. That is entirely dependent on the choices the employer makes. Then the victim is to blame. This is similar to an MSN article that reported on a woman who was, I quote 'too beautiful to work'. She was sexually harrassed at work because of her appearance and there was a poll, not for the punishment to men who harrassed her, but for her to stop working and create a peaceful environment so people around her can focus. Do you see the logic behind this ridiculousness?

      And about the sandwich statement, it proves that a woman's opinion does not matter. I can make a valid statement, a very contradictory one even but I can be looked down on just because "it is not my role as a woman". It's difficult to come up with strategies that will make me look strong but rude also. That's one reason why I barely have friends too. I have an interest in politics and the economy and I care a lot about the environment for everyone else. My English teacher told me that everything's an argument. I do know that of course, if it wasn't for the fact that during these arguments, I'm shedding off the social life I'm barely hanging on to. Then it all boils down to social appearance and whether or not I'm "likeable enough" to talk with.
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        Nov 21 2013: I don't know, Moe, you certainly read about all kinds of people bringing all kinds of suits for discrimination. And many of these suits are successful. But I think I'm not entirely clear on your issue here. Are you saying that women make less pay than men because at times a woman goes on maternity leave and gets paid even though she's not coming to work and contributing to the company? So you might say the maternity leave is figured into her salary or wage, in other words she makes a little less than guys make doing the same kind of work during the hours she's at the company, but she gets paid sometimes (for maternity leave) when she's not at the company doing anything. Conceivably this could be fair, because the pay she is getting when she's not at the company (on maternity leave) would compensate for the slight amount less she's making when she's at the company? Course you would want to create a mechanism for women who never have a child and never take maternity leave, they would have to somehow have pay made up to the men's level.

        Or are you saying that women contribute as much as men, even when you figure in maternity leave, but still don't make as much? This of course would be unfair, and I would certainly encourage people to fight for fairness. But, Moe, you said if the woman begins to sue for discrimination, the company might pay her off, wouldn't this be a good solution, in other words, she wants more money to compensate for not making as much as the guys, and by "paying her off" with money, the company is giving her what she wants? Nothing wrong with getting paid off, right, whether it's in court by order of a judge, or privately before the case ever goes to court, either way it's good hard American greenbacks, right?
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        Nov 21 2013: There are a lot of things the sandwich statement could be about. It doesn't prove a woman's opinion doesn't matter, it might demonstrate that a woman's opinion doesn't matter to the guy making the statement, or it might prove that at that very moment, on that specific point, the woman's opinion doesn't matter to that guy. But, who knows, the same guy who makes a dumb joke about "make me a sandwich" today might really value women's opinion tomorrow, he makes that joke when he feels really strong and in control, but tommorow he may suddenly need other people's help on something, and then he may value help from everyone, man or woman.

        I guess you could ask a guy who says that what he means by that, if you're in an intellectual discussion and the guy suddenly says "Go make me a sandwich," you could say, "now wait, where's that coming from, we were having a good discussion." Or you could "Why, are you hungry?" That way he has to come clean about what he means. But actually, Moe, you still haven't told me the context when guys make this "sandwich joke," I mean, is it at home where maybe you really could make him a sandwich, or is it at school where you couldn't make him a sandwich, so it's obviously a bad joke? Therefore it's a bit hard to offer suggestions.

        What if you joined some organizations outside school that have to do with your interests? And went to their meetings? I'm sure there are many organizations for all your interests, there are definitely feminist organizations, definitely ones for people interested in politics and economy and environment. You could meet people who somewhat shared your interests, it might also be easier to make friends. I'm sure there would be feminist orgs where there were guys who came to the meetings, there are many feminist guys in this world.

        Possibly you're too mature for your school. Some people drop out of high school and start college early.
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        Nov 21 2013: yes, I've heard that issue about women being too beautiful for the workplace. I heard about a dentist who fired his assistant because he was afraid she would tempt him with her beauty to have an affair and damage his marriage. I believe the court decided he did have a right to fire her for this reason. I'm afraid at this point this issue is too difficult for me, I would have no problem working with beautiful women without harassing them, but I suppose it's possible that some men might have a problem, although that is hard for me to understand. Maybe you should make this a TED conversation topic and see what people think.

        By the way, one of my friends did leave high school a year early, I believe he took an equivalency exam to get his high school diploma, and then he enrolled at the junior college in our town, Glendale Community College. He didn't like high school because he thought it was superficial, the interest in cheerleaders and being popular and cliques.

        I suppose you could think about starting clubs at high school with your interests, but if your social life isn't that good maybe this wouldn't work. But like I said above, there are many organizations in the larger world devoted to all your interests, you might be very happy getting involved in one or more of them.
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        Nov 21 2013: By the way, I admire your courage for even admitting that social life is a struggle, a lot of people wouldn't be willing to admit that, I'd be pretty much a coward about it.

        You know, one thing to remember is to be humble, whenever you get into a conversation with someone that shows possibility of becoming an argument, remember, you might be wrong, and the other person might be right, or you might have something to learn from the other person. I know you're a very smart, mature person, and so am I, but even people like us have a lot to learn from other people. In fact, I try to not think of any conversation as an argument, or a fight. I really take it that in a conversation I and the other person are engaging in a search, together, for the truth, and we both have a lot of good, smart things to contribute.
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    Nov 18 2013: Pay should be based on only one factor: the value that your labor adds to the business. If two people add the same value to the business, they should be paid the same. If they don't, then they should not be paid the same.

    As a secondary note, I always find it interesting that people spend so much time focusing on inequality based on gender and "race", but people ignore height discrimination, which is a huge factor in pay differences and differences in employment opportunities.
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      Nov 18 2013: I have never heard of height discrimination. Can you explain me on why height is important in jobs these days?
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        Nov 18 2013: There is a direct connection between a person's height and the level of respect, especially if male. This can sometimes equate to pay differences at least as large as between men and women. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/02/02/cb.tall.people/
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          Nov 19 2013: Wow, this is ridiculous. Now this had me thinking of my future jobs and how the hell I'm supposed to bear with the fact that a taller person is getting paid for their height. I'm a little under five feet and is a freshman in high school. I have grown under two inches in the last four years and it's unfair that based off of my appearance, my employer may judge on my self-esteem (which is actually quite high because as Eleanor Roosevelt said 'no one can make you feel inferior without your permission''). This is outrageous.
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        Nov 19 2013: I wouldn't be too worried about your height. As I said, height discrimination is more of a concern for men since men are expected to be taller.
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    Nov 18 2013: moe, what is the thing about "single father express their opinions"?

    well, are you saying that women make 15% less for doing the same jobs, or 15% less but perhaps they are doing less important jobs? If it's the first, that is definitely unfair, and I can't even see why it would be. Perhaps women aren't pushy enough in salary negotiations? Or who knows, maybe women are physically scared of getting beaten up if they ask for more money, I mean, you tell me, does it feel scary to be a woman, for example if you go out at night are you afraid of being raped?

    If it's the second, well, you can't expect people to make as much if they're doing less important jobs. But we might ask if women haven't in general risen to as many executive jobs, this might also be lack of aggressiveness, perhaps you need to be aggressive to be a boss?

    It's a little complicated, because I think a lack of aggressiveness can also be lovable, I could love that about women.

    It's probably partly because women haven't been in the workforce in large numbers as long as men.
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      Nov 18 2013: Your first point is an interesting one. I have seen reports that a lot of the imbalance in pay is due to men and women working different jobs, rather than being paid different amounts for the same job.
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        Nov 18 2013: well, that seems fair, doesn't it, to get paid less if you're not doing as difficult work? But if there is discrimination against women on the basis of sex that they cannot get the better jobs even though they would do them as well or better, that is wrong.
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          Nov 18 2013: A woman wrote on the FML website that says, "Even though I work hard and do the equal amount as my male peers, I get paid 15% less because I was born a female. FML." (I don't remember the sentence structure but it was about the same). I find it awful that gender discrimination still exists in the workforce. Yes, men have an advantage when it comes to physique but looking this in a perspective of both gender I think it's fair to say that everyone deserves equal rights no matter what they look like or the reproductive system they are born with. Both genders are capable of doing the same jobs as one another. I find it depressing to see teenage men, particularly in my high school saying "now go make me a sandwich," to their girlfriends and joking about it to their male peers. It's just wrong. Thank you, Greg. I enjoyed your opinion on this matter.
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      Nov 18 2013: Greg,
      You are reinforcing an old stereotype with your statement....
      "...I think a lack of aggressiveness can also be lovable, I could love that about women."

      The idea that women who are not aggressive are more loveable is a concept which has contributed to women being less aggressive EVEN if that is what they need to do to get equal pay. Women can be aggressive in the workplace when needed, AND still be loveable. It seems to be a matter of letting go of gender biases and stereotypes.

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/1978/americans-see-women-emotional-affectionate-men-more-aggressive.aspx
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        Moe Aye

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        Nov 18 2013: It's really difficult to break through the barrier of 'aggressivness' because most people don't see women that way. We're meant to look upon like pieces of art, to be taken care of and treated with gentle care no matter what we say. From my experience, I am agressive when it comes to portraying my strength in class debates and I wish more women would speak out. It's too bad that some of them looks so submissive, barely awake. I hope we can all find a way to help everyone join because I know that women are just as capable as men are in academics too.

        It's surprising to see the reactions I get when I tell people that I would rather adopt starving children in third world countries than give birth to add on to the already growing population;or the fact that marriage is not for me is enough for half the world to pounce onto me. This also includes abortion rights that these men in the community are against saying that we are 'killing' children. Being a woman is much more difficult than it looks.
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          Nov 18 2013: Moe,
          It is difficult to break through the barrier that ALL labels create! It is nice to be treated with gentle care.....AND.....it is also nice to be respected for who and what we are and what we do.

          When girls/women speak out, there is a risk that they/we may be thought of as unlovable by those who want to hang onto that stereotype. I can be aggressive when a situation calls for that too, and I would not give up my right to do so simply because of what some people may think.

          There is a continuing stereotype that girls/women who are submissive are more lovable.....they are certainly easier to control, and perhaps that is perceived as "loveable" for some people.

          In my humble perception, your intent to adopt starving children is commendable, and your choice to marry, or not to marry is YOUR choice. If people do not accept YOUR choice, they are simply making a judgment and showing you what THEIR choice is....it is called "projection".

          Being a woman may be challenging in some ways, and it appears that you are exploring the challenges with mindful awareness.....I am very impressed:>)
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        Nov 18 2013: i'm sorry, Colleen, my intention wasn't to reinforce stereotypes. I thought when Moe wrote the topic, she had asked why women might make less, and I was attempting to think of reasons why that might be. But when I reread her topic, I see she hadn't asked that question. I really don't know much about the pregnancy leave, well, has it become an issue, what are the particulars? The idea is that women make less pay because they get maternity leave, this could be unfair to a woman who never had any children, or it could be unfair to women who had two children vs. four children.
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          Nov 18 2013: I did not think you did it intentionally Greg. It is so ingrained in our culture, it is not even noticed much of the time, which is part of why it is difficult to change.

          I believe men said that giving women maternity leave was unfair because they (men) could not have that opportunity. "Paternity leave" was initiated to be more "fair" to men (see links in my other comment).
  • Nov 18 2013: As woman we should negotiate for our salary. When the time comes to sit at the table we need to be confident and prove our worth, through the hard work and commitment that we have provided thus far without considering future possibilities of pregnancy. Men now can also take leave when they have children and should hold an equal responsibility when it comes to taking care of them. So we as women need to decide what it is we really want and make the sacrifice.
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      Nov 18 2013: But why us? If both genders are truly equal, it's ridiculous for a woman to choose between a career and a family. Why not both?
  • Nov 18 2013: I think everyone will agree that there should be equal pay for equal work. This inequality occurs in the 1st 5 years of employment and seems to disappear after 5 years.
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      Nov 19 2013: Then we need to think of something to fix that first five years of unfair raise.
  • Nov 18 2013: Go on strike.
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      Nov 19 2013: Do you think, in your opinion, that's the best option?