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Time to put an end to the struggle for wage equality

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By Cloie Swain / Staff writer

By Cloie Swain / Staff writer

Beggars can’t be choosers.

This mantra, repeated by the throngs of unemployed Americans, has become a chant in the minds of those desperate for a job.

With unemployment in its 17th month of being at least nine percent or more of the population and having 95,000 jobs lost this past September, the alleged end of the recession apparently doesn’t apply to the majority of the country that it was being bleated to by mouthpieces and press releases.

For the minority of employed workers, the situation fares better, but just barely.

Cut hours, reductions in benefits and wage are only a few symptoms resulting from desperate business owners to stay afloat as the rest of the country sinks.

But how can being one of the privileged few with a job have even more negative impact based on something predetermined before birth?

Being a woman.

Females in the American workplace will earn, on average, 77 cents to every one-dollar that a man makes doing the same job.

In an economy where people are literally scrounging for change, those missed 23 cents make an impact.

The truly offensive aspect of this is the archaic nature of the gap.

Women and men can get the same educations, the same qualifications and can do the same quality of work.

 So what justifies paying someone, who in all respects is an equal, less than another based strictly on which box they check on forms to indicate gender?

While many are outraged by the inconsistency in wages between genders, what is more concerning is how little attention this struggle for equal pay is getting in the mainstream media.

With the foreclosure drama, Brett Favre’s alleged indecent exposure, and Hungary being buried under feet of toxic mud, it is reasonable to expect much of the attention to be diverted to things that will generate clicks and views as opposed to something that many people are unaware of.

It is unacceptable not to be educated about the battle for wage equality.

Not only the nation, but also the female population of the Riverside Community College District, should be aware of the battle going on on their behalf.

The legislation, the Fair Pay Act sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Delegate Eleanor Holmes of the District of Columbia, would mark an attempt to establish equal pay for equal work.

It also has scores of fans that would like to see it turned into a law.

According to the site Pay-Equity.org, over 80 percent of people registered to vote are in favor of some form of new legislation to ensure that equal pay becomes a reality, instead of just a hopeful policy.

Much like the debate over gay marriage, gender equality has faced its share of hurdles in spite of the gains it has made.

Many people support it, but the lack of momentum on important issues often halts the progress right before something important is addressed.

The importance of having a fair pay scale regardless of sex is the underlying meaning in it.

When society begins to demand equal pay for equal work, it will emulate what the theory of trickle-down economics state (except it will actually work), and begin to spread into all areas of the American social spectrum.

Acknowledgment and enforcement of equality is the first important step towards gaining it in its truest sense.

This act is no exception, which is why it is so crucial to be informed about it.

Knowing is half the battle, and with widespread exposure of the injustices in the work force affecting women, there is an opportunity to make an effectual change.

While some may question the necessity for laws such as this one, there is an obligation that needs to be fulfilled by its passage, if only symbolically.

Since the women’s suffrage movement of the early Twentieth century, women have gained the same status as their male counterparts in American society.

But the discrepancies in pay are a glaring blight on that fact, and this bill offers an opportunity to correct this.

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