I've been working in my chosen career since I was nineteen years old. I started as a part-time college intern. Three, four, five days a week I would drop my books and notebooks off in my dorm room, change into something that vaguely resembled business attire (back in the days when women did *not* wear pantsuits. And I'm not even making that up. I remember when the first woman in the area started wearing pantsuits to work - not pants/tops as separates, but like a men's business suit but cut for a woman. No, it wasn't the 1980s. It was the 1990s for chrissake! Oh, right, I'm old. Erp.) and hop the train into the city to go to work. There were days when I had to make sure to work at least two hours, because if I only worked one, I didn't quite make the train fare to/from work (at my starting rate of about $6.37/hr.)
I've worked more years than I haven't. And I took time off to raise my kids. Because it's something that was important to me, but it was also something that was the right timing for us - my career had reached a lull, I had lost one job and a new job wasn't quite the right fit for me, so we reconsidered priorities, wrote a budget, and...I've blogged about this before.
But the thing that has always made my head burst into flames is the fact that I work hard, damn hard, and just as hard as anybody else (harder than some, too.) And I'm quick. And productive. And my time is worth it. This is even more important in the post-baby-working-years because I have these heart-stoppingly painful conversations with my 7 year old, who tonight at bedtime when I was reviewing the week's schedule and mentioning when I would be in the office, told me "we're not going to have to have a babysitter again?" Because last week once I had to have a sitter take care of the kids after school for a few hours so I could do a video shoot at work. And she noticed. And while the sitter does a nice job, and the daughter benefits from other people in the world caring about her and interacting with her, she just doesn't like it. So rip my heart out and serve it on a platter, shall we? Ugh. This part about working is not the best part, but I console myself with the idea that I'm working and contributing and setting a good example, and I've got a pretty great part-time gig that flexes around my family's commitments and lets me be the mom most of the time and...then I read this sort of shit and it makes my head burst into flames. (that article references this one which is where the actual combustion occurs)
Because HOW CAN IT BE 2011 and this is still happening?!?!?
And how can a writer write this passage and not have her own head explode into flames?
Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.
Because I just don't get it.
Meanwhile, the original poster (the one who I agree with) says the following:
I would also love to know why, if pay is so equal, women with kids are paid less than men with kids. I'm sure that some will explain it by saying that women decided to take time off to raise up the young'ins, and therefore lose market share. I can see how that would affect lifetime earnings. However, I am confused as to why, then, a woman who is employed at a job with the same experience as a man still earns less than he does.