Today is International Women’s day and the global theme for 2016 is ‘Parity’. Women all over the world are enjoying well-paid jobs and a financial freedom that never used to be possible. There are women managers, supervisors, CEO’s, and presidents of major companies in every country. And that is awesome! Seriously. These women are strong and powerful and have worked hard to get where they are.
So what is the problem?
The problem is this:
When I Googled highest paid people in the world… 1 out of the top 10 was a woman… and she was the 10th on the list (The Richest). I looked further and found that the 10 highest paid CEO’s are all men (Forbes)!
What is Parity?
But what does that even mean?
I asked for a simpler explanation… parity means that a man and a woman doing the exact same job be paid the same amount of money. That would make sense right? That people are paid for the tasks they are doing based on how good there are at it. I’d say so. The problem, though, is this…
According to Statistics Canada (2012):
“…for every $1.00 earned by a male worker, a female worker earns 74 cents.”
That was 2012… A lot can happen in 4 years…Right? Right? An article by CNN Money from 2015 says that:
“Women have raised their hourly pay 1.5 cents since 2012 (from 76.5 cents to 78 cents), according to the Census Bureau.”
What does it mean for youth… for YOU?
Ok… So there is obviously a problem. But what can we do about it? We are not CEO’s fighting for equal pay, we are young women still wondering what we even want to do with our lives when we grow up.
Well… Apparently there is actually A LOT we can do.
For starters, we can take a #PledgeForParity. For example: You could pledge to help other girls achieve their ambitions and it is as easy as supporting them (even saying you believe in them can really help!). Empowerment is really important. So much so actually, that the Government of Canada has made it an addition theme to International Women’s Day here! Empowerment is having the tools to make better choices. It/s also about having people believe in you, encourage you and let you try things on your own.
One thing we can do to empower each other is speak up about the bias we hear around school. Anything where ‘boys are better than girls’. This happens a lot in sports, and even though there is a difference in our bodies, girls should never feel inferior to boys. This can also be for opinions. Girls’ and boys’ opinions are equal in terms of gender parity and believing that now could really help in the future!
Another way you can help make a difference is to get involved in the community. Volunteer. Join a club. When girls get involved in the daily life of their communities, they learn more about the people and opportunities around them and are able to share their talents and perspectives (which can also be empowering!)
So don’t think that just because you are still young you have no way to help the gender wage gap in the workforce or other ways in which men and women still aren’t equal… it is the changes we make now that will make the real difference for the future. You’re a girl! You can make a difference!
25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century: according to TIME Magazine
Finally, I wanted to take a look back at our history for more inspiration. With a simple google search for ‘inspirational and notable women’ the lists came back in the hundreds, dating all the back to Cleopatra. Wow! That is inspirational in itself! Then I found this great TIME Magazine article that highlighted 25 inspirational women within the last 100 years – women who have made noticeable differences in how we live today. Take a moment and Google a few (or read the Time article) and see which women inspire you to make your own mark in history (some probably already know!)
- Jane Addams (1860-1935)
- Corazon Aquino (1933-2009)
- Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
- Coco Chanel (1883-1971)
- Julia Child (1912-2004)
- Hillary Clinton (1947-Present)
- Marie Curie (1867-1934)
- Aretha Franklin (1942-Present)
- Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
- Estée Lauder (1908-2004)
- Madonna (1958-Present)
- Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
- Golda Meir (1898-1978)
- Angela Merkel (1954-Present)
- Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-Present)
- Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
- Jiang Qing (1914-1991)
- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
- Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)
- Gloria Steinem (1934-Present)
- Martha Stewart (1941-Present)
- Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
- Margaret Thatcher (1925-Present)
- Oprah Winfrey (1954-Present)
- Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)