By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
Tell the truth. As political pundits ponder the possibility of Hillary Clinton teaming with Elizabeth Warren in her bid for the presidency, haven’t you at least considered the thought that America might not be ready for one female leader – much less two?
Don’t feel badly. Polls confirm that an embarrassing number of males confess that they take gender into consideration in weighing the candidacy of a woman. What’s worse is, a shockingly significant percent of women express similar apprehensions.
Sen. Warren is more qualified to be president of the United States in her sleep than Donald Trump is when he’s wide-awake at his best. What is it about this country that just can’t stand women getting a whiff of equality?
Make no mistakes. There are countries in which the treatment of females is degenerate and inhumane. And there are other countries less brutal but similarly constraining. The U.S. is not alone.
But we symbolize leadership of the free world — The land of the free and the home of the brave. We would never speak of those horrible circumstances in lesser nations in the same breath as the United States of America.
No matter how you feel about abortion, it never seemed like a decision men had a right to make. The Supreme Court ruling this week clearly let Texas know that it is not. And you have to wonder if the support would have been there had there not been for the fact that three of the eight justices are female.
And similarly, who (beside the National Rifle Association and Clarence Thomas) can even make a reasonable argument against denying men the right to own a weapon if they are convicted of domestic violence.
The argument was the restriction should apply to felony abuse and assault not misdemeanor – suggesting that a woman must endure more than a base level of pain and suffering before she should expect the most fundamental protection by law.
Again, the U.S. Supreme did the right thing.
But the struggle is real for women. The average man would be ready to fight if he asked change for a dollar and was given back only 79 cents. Well, that amounts to about the earnings of female workers to similarly qualified and experienced male counterparts in the work place.
While there has been improvement from the 60 cents to a dollar earned by men in the U.S. in 1980 – there’s no need to uncork the champagne, clink glasses and toast yet; not until this country can totally erase hideous lines of demarcation drawn by bigoted, insecure, arrogant males limiting life accommodations and respect for women.
Gender pay is defined as the difference between the median earnings of women and men. This can be either the earnings ratio or the actual pay gap. Check this out:
- Education raises the game of women, but when they compete against equally educated males, there still is no justice. In 2015, the average weekly earnings for women in full-time management, professional, and related jobs was $996 compared to $1,383 for men.
- Women would need to work 70 additional days a year to match the income of men in the same jobs.
- The average full-time working woman will lose more than $460,000 over a 40-year period in wages due only to the wage gap. To catch up, she will need to work 12 additional years.
- And yet close to half of all women are sole or primary breadwinners in their households earning at least half of the family income.
I thank my daughter Bridget for inspiring this column. We got into a friendly debate over the weekend on whether America was more hostile to African American men or women. We argued the obvious positions and ended the day stalemated – agreeing to disagree.
The next morning on our way to church, I admitted that after somber reflection and deep thought, I was persuaded. Black women in the U.S. most consistently face seemingly insurmountable obstacles and yet manage to overcome with beauty, dignity, strength and spiritual fortitude.
The reality is staggering, and not just for Black women. In all 50 states including the District of Columbia, in all but a handful of professions and non-skilled fields, the truth is the same – no matter what race, ethnicity, age, occupation, or education, women remain at the bottom of the totem pole.
That’s not only deplorable, it’s totally unacceptable America.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].