Wage Inequality: More Than Meets The Eye

Wage inequality is evidently still an issue in our society today. In Ontario today, for every $1.00 that a man makes, a women makes 74 cents (Pay Equality Commission, “Gender Wage Gap”). For the most part, wage inequality continues to be somewhat hidden from public view. Unlike other forms of gender inequality that largely occurs in public view, wage inequality occurs on a pay cheque. This makes Randall Carlisle article, “Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir at Utah High School”, very interesting. As stated before, wage inequality predominantly is seen behind closed doors and out of the public view, however this bake sale brought wage inequality into the public view. The bake sale charged male buyers $1.00 for a cookie and female buyers 77 cents for the same cookie (Carlisle, “Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir at Utah High School”). This was done because women make 77 cents for every one dollar a man makes in the United States (Carlisle, “Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir at Utah High School”). In Carlisle’s article he notes that when men were forced to pay more than women, there was a public outcry and people claimed that the bake sale was not equally fair. For wage inequality to be changed it needs to be presented more to the public. People need to see how wage inequality is occurring everywhere around them and how we need to change the systemic oppression that is wage inequality.

Canadian businesses are systemically built to pay women less. This is obviously instilled from the hegemonic belief that men are better than women. This misogynistic belief is quite obviously false, however this belief still occurs systemically in Canada’s wage gap. By changing the systemically oppressive nature of gender inequality, Canada’s work force would strengthen. Countries with the lowest wage gap currently have the highest rate of female participation and equitable sharing of household work (Anderssen, “Pay attention private sector: Public sector wages are higher because the gender gap is much smaller”). By making Canadian wages equal for both men and women then we can also help break down gender binaries in the work place and household.  Equal pay will encourage hegemonic masculinity to be dismantled as women begin to enter roles that men would have previously held. As the workplace changes with women holding more positions, what would also occur is that men would begin to enter roles in the workplace and household that are currently viewed as predominantly for females (Anderssen, “Pay attention private sector: Public sector wages are higher because the gender gap is much smaller”). Gender roles often define what job is for who, however with more women being active in the workforce the notion of gender roles would be dismantled. By changing the wage inequality and making wages for all genders equal, the end to systemic oppression for women in the workplace will be one step closer. As well, the discrimination against men who partake in household roles and jobs typically held by women will also begin to end.

There is an even larger issue with wage inequality when you look at the intersectional wage discrimination of aboriginal women in Canada. In Canada aboriginal women make 46 cents on every dollar that a man makes (Lambert 5). This means that aboriginal women make 28 cents less on each dollar as compared to non-aboriginal women in Canada (Lambert 5). Aboriginal women also have a higher rate of unemployment as compared to non-aboriginal women in Canada (Lambert 6). In fact, the rate of unemployment for aboriginal women is double that of non-aboriginal women in Canada (Lambert 6).  The unemployment rates are 6.4% for non-aboriginal women and 13.5% for aboriginal women in Canada (Lambert 6). This intersectional wage inequality stems from the systemic colonialism of Canada’s past. Colonialism in Canada is well documented and is something that the aboriginal community is still working to rebuild from (“Aboriginal Peoples In Canada: Repairing the Relationship” 184).  Aboriginal people in Canada are working to step away from the demoralizing stereotypes that present aboriginal people as hopeless welfare dependents (“Aboriginal Peoples In Canada: Repairing the Relationship” 184).  To change these stereotypes there needs to be a change in wage equality, especially for the aboriginal women of Canada. By raising the wages of aboriginal women, more women will be capable of supporting themselves. This would then lower the unemployment rate and help break down the demoralizing stereotypes of aboriginals.

Evidently there is an issue with wage equality in Canada. This is something that needs to be changed. However, to change this issue it needs to be brought into public view so that more than just those who are effected can know about this issue. The bake sale in the Utah High School is a great medium to show how wage inequality effects people. More actions like these need to be made in an effort to end wage inequality. Changing wage inequality is not just about paying everyone equally, it is also about breaking down gender roles that cause discrimination to women and men for their role in the work place. It is about ending intersectional oppression and discrimination to the aboriginal women of Canada based on stereotypes of their employment status. Ending wage inequality is about providing equality to all genders and races.

Works Cited

Anderssen, Erin. “Pay Attention Private Sector: Public Sector Wages Are Higher Because the Gender Gap Is Much Smaller.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

Carlisle, Randall. “Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir at Utah High School.” Good4Utah. Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

Fleras, Augie. Unequal Relations : An Introduction to Race, Ethnic, and Aboriginal Dynamics in Canada / Augie Fleras. 6th ed. Vol. 1. Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2010. 425. Print.

“Gender Wage Gap.” Pay Equity Commission. The Government of Ontario, Canada, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

Lambert, Lisa. “Gendered Wage Gap Even More Pronounced for Aboriginal Women.” Native Counselling Services of Alberta, 2010. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

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4 thoughts on “Wage Inequality: More Than Meets The Eye

  1. That was a really good explanation! I really liked the way you made everything simple to understand, especially for someone who didn’t know anything about the topic. How would you go about fixing this issue? And do you think that simply raising women’s salaries would fix the problem, what other steps would you take?

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    1. Ultimately I believe that awareness will empower individuals to create change. This issue seems to be swept under the rug at any opportunity and to change that we must keep this issue in the public’s view. While raising women’s salaries will not end this issue, what it will do is help to diminish the belief that someone’s gender is a defining factor in their capability to complete a task.

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  2. Im glad you chose this, it is interesting reading some one else’s perspective on this topic. You did a great job explaining and emphasizing on the major issue. The flow of this blog is very clear and straight forward and you get right to the main topic/issue. What stuck out to me was YOUR own opinion towards wage inequality within Canada in your last paragraph. You highlight how it is not only in the Utah school, but in general and I really admire you for adding that in, it shows you have a strong sense for this issue and care for it.

    My question for you is: If you were the teacher do you think this bake sale reveals how important this issue is? Would you agree with the action the students are doing? Also, Do you think that in the future women’s salaries will change.. if so, I am curious to know HOW you think it can/could?

    Thanks!

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  3. Another great blog on the topic! I really enjoyed your own personal opinions commonly being expressed throughout the blog, showing a deeper understanding of the issue! I also appreciate how you highlighted the fact that women of colour are at a particular disadvantage. What do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of this bake-sale? Do the advantages outweigh the negative feedback of the majority of the men?

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