Let’s Stop Teaching Girls They Are Worth Less Than Boys
Do you remember the chores you were given as a child? Perhaps it was your job to take out the garbage or wash the dishes after dinner. Maybe your parents even sweetened the deal by giving you an allowance for helping around the house.
If you’re a girl and you have brothers, you might have a bone to pick with your parents. A new study from Junior Achievement has found that nearly 70 percent of boys get an allowance compared to less than 60 percent of girls. What’s more? Boys are also more likely to get more money for doing less work.
Another study found that girls actually do two more hours of housework a week than boys who spend twice as much time playing. The girls are also less likely to get paid for the housework they do whereas the boys were 15 percent more likely to get an allowance for doing household chores.
The message here is clear: girls are supposed to take care of the home and this work isn’t valuable because they can do it without pay. This lesson learned early on plays out in adulthood with women often being the partner that ends up taking care of the household chores. In fact, despite the fact that many women are now the breadwinners of their families, they are still left doing the majority of the housework.
Could it be that gender gap in children’s allowance has contributed to the wage gap women continue to face today?
I would argue yes! When girls from an early age begin making less than boys or are paid nothing at all for the chores they do, they are learning to accept less money for their work. It also teaches boys that it’s OK for women to earn less money for doing the same job.
I’m sure Phyllis Schlafly would disagree. A recent op-ed of hers in the Christian Post actually makes the argument that the “so-called” wage gap (she believes the wage gap is a “notorious falsehood that anyone should be embarrassed to use”) is actually a good thing because women prefer to have a higher earning partner.
“Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.”
She goes on to add, “The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.”
Luckily there are awesome young activists like 12-year-old Madison Kimrey to put Schlafly in her place. In response to Schlafly’s comments regarding the wage gape, Kimrey wrote her an open letter saying:
What you’re doing, Ms. Schlafly, is contributing to something very disturbing I see happening with some of the teenage girls I know. At a time in their lives when they should be free, independent, and exploring and preparing for the possibilities they have in the future, many of them are worried about getting or keeping a boyfriend. There are young women my age who are extremely smart but they hide it because they get messages from women like you that if they are too smart or successful, boys won’t like them. They get messages from women like you that pleasing a man should be their number one goal.
Kimrey ends her letter telling Schlafly that she is going to work to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified and “undo a lot of the damage” women like her have caused. As one of the “young women who will be taking over this country soon,” Kimrey will undoubtedly leave a lasting mark on history, and hopefully my daughter will one day not have to worry about the gender pay gap.
For such a young girl, Kimrey is quite wise. I’ll leave you with my favorite line from her open letter: “Equality doesn’t mean women will all make the same choice. It means women will be treated the same no matter what choices they make.”
My vote is for a Clinton-Kimrey 2016 ticket. Who’s with me?!
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Photo Credit: StevenDepolo