To the Editor:
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was the most optimistic speech that I have heard from any politician in quite awhile. It focused on the values he feels are at stake in this country today rather than on a list of unattainable national goals.
While President Obama discussed many of the nation’s obstacles, the topic that struck me the most dealt with his view on the women’s earning gap in the workforce.
Women’s equality is still very much an issue at hand in this country. Although women have been able to vote in America since 1919, women’s suffrage efforts have, and continue to be, much more deeply embedded in the roots of this nation’s history.
Today, a large struggle for women relates to unfair payment in the workforce. While the number of women in the workforce since 1970 has increased by about 13%, the payment gap remains an issue.
According to a 2013 study based on the average female employee at age 25 working year-round, the average woman will lose $420,000 over her working lifetime due to the earnings gap.
In his address, President Obama acknowledged this fact and stated, “That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. It’s 2015. It’s time.”
As an aspiring female social worker, I believe this is imperative. In this day and age, we should not have to live in a society where it is acceptable for a woman to be viewed as any less than a man in any way.
We should not have to live with the fact that females may work just as hard as our male counterparts by doing the same job and still not be paid the same amount of money.
If we as a nation ever want to improve the way we function on a daily basis, we must not only admit our past mistakes but also strive to correct them for current and future generations.
Stop and ask yourself: Would you want your daughters, granddaughters or nieces to be more inclined for financial crisis simply because of her gender? I personally know what it is like to be told that I was incapable of accomplishing something because of my gender, and no woman should experience this ever again.
We are the United States of America and, frankly, I think it is time to start living up to that title. Therefore, I encourage you as citizens to advocate for yourselves; write to your local and state representatives to encourage gender equality in the workforce, and spread the word through social media and at community events.
This issue will not change if we do not act on it.
Cameron Mas is a freshman at a freshman at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.