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Let’s Stop Teaching Girls They Are Worth Less Than Boys

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?!

Related from Care2:

Two Young Women Are Taking Sexism Head On

Wife, Recruiter, Human Shield? 3 More Ways Women Are Treated As Less Than Equal

Don’t Ban Bossy. Teach Girls to Be the Boss.

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Photo Credit: StevenDepolo

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320 comments

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8:27AM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

It is hard to believe that these attitudes still exist in 21st century America.

2:41AM PDT on May 7, 2014

Hello, Dear Care 2 friends,
Thank you for the article.
This is importance of no. one for future educated women. I met people telling that independent women with knowledge are not wanted to be the members of society anymore. There had been many insulting remarks from higher educated men who not evaluate the intelligence of woman being able to study at university. Vanity men took over the serious men who liked to work and who appreciated the education possibilities. University don't mean anymore hard work to become specialist. It means now money and position in society without any vision how you would like to work for your community. There is demand to make work as important as position and not abuse the abilities the education gives you. There is serious ethical problem inside the higher level of knowledge.
Sincerely, I. H.

1:52PM PDT on May 6, 2014

Women have been multi-tasking all their lives and many of these naysayers aren`t able to see why these women shouldn`t get equal pay!!

12:19AM PDT on May 5, 2014

Phyllis Schaffley wouldn't be as successful if there weren't men helping her.

12:19AM PDT on May 5, 2014

It's OK for young girls (even pre-teens) to have/want boyfriends.
Because it's their choice; and "they'll be treated equally no matter what choice they make" if they understand there are supportive boyfriends who find smartness attractive.
I hope women will choose a supportive partner (if they want one).

4:36PM PDT on May 3, 2014

That sentence brought tears to my eyes; 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
She's so Young, and she puts it so simply, yet some people have so much trouble understanding this!

12:05PM PDT on May 3, 2014

I don't really get how it's legal for companies to pay differently for the same job performed in the same company, in the first place. But it sucks, yeah. Gender equality in pay rates would be nice, as well as equal pay for people from all ethnicities, sexual orientation, beliefs, etc., these issues are all equally important. Ageism too, I left my last job because my boss (female) discriminated against me for being young, she did not respect my schedule requests because she did not take me as seriously as the other employees who were older.

3:22PM PDT on May 2, 2014

It''s so sad and shocking that girls are still being payed less than boys *and* more chores at home. It's so ingrained into our society that people don't even realize they're doing it.
I love Madison Kimrey, though! Thank the Gods for young women like her!

8:50AM PDT on May 2, 2014

Let's START TEACHING GIRLS what they're worth, from their start-up in the family, then school, then community ... if all took stewardship of their duties, each in turn could replace the false impressions so rapidly being pushed forward, gaining in strength. Own it ... address it honestly, adding support as needed along the way. There are times this can be turned around with commitment ... even a victory for one is worth the effort. What say you ...


7:23AM PDT on May 2, 2014

It's true, my father constantly went to my sister and I to clean something up, even if it had been my brother who created the mess. If we refused, he would remind us that it was going to be expected if we wanted a boyfriend to do all the chores without needing asked. Then my brother would be rewarded for cleaning up his own mess :/ That's why my flatmate and I share the chores equally despite his girlfriend practically living with us. :)

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