Happy Women’s Equality Day!
I’ve been trying to figure out all day how to properly celebrate Women’s Equality Day on my blog. I didn’t want to just rehash statistics of how women are still unequal in government representation (Women only hold 16% of seats in Congress), or how women still get paid 80% of what their male counterparts earn. I didn’t want to write another list of how women are portrayed as sex objects in many outlets of media while men are in positions of power; or the differences in toys and marketing for young children.
Then I found an article in Time Magazine from the August 22 Issue called “Here’s Looking at You: What you see in the mirror may be deciding your paycheck.”
According to the article, good-looking women earn 12% more money than below-average women. Men, surprisingly, have it worse – good-looking men earn 17% more than their below-average counterparts. This difference in earnings costs the below-average worker $230,000 over their lifetime and this discrimination costs the economy $20 billion annually.
At first, I was thrilled that the problem for women wasn’t quite as steep. But then I remembered – the standards for women are much higher than the standards for men. We are constantly critiqued on our appearance, how our hair is done, how much makeup we do/do not wear, how much we weigh. It feels petty that we’re carrying our prejudices about appearance into the workplace, where they have little to no place. And undoubtedly, women are scrutinized at a much higher level than men.
What I’m trying to say is this: We’ve got a lot to work on. Not just the things we know about, but the things that we forget about – like social prejudices about earnings in the workplace – not just because you’re a woman, but because you’re not as attractive as the last woman who walked in.