One thing that has really changed in our society is the cultural support for marriage,
mothering, and wife-dom. These days it is practically sacrilege to let little girls dream of
becoming wives and mothers. Today it is all about the education and the making of money, and
pushing girls into careers. Not long ago there was a big fuss over some toys, easy bake ovens
for example, became the symbolic evidence of girls selling themselves short. No more little
dishes, dolls, and tea parties, you are destined to go into the STEM fields.
Being a wife and even a mother, is now perceived as a bit of a failure, something uneducated,
unenlightened women do because we don’t know better and no-one has taught us we have choices.
To even suggest that we might be making a valid choice, an intelligent choice even, is met with
huge resistance. Marriage and motherhood is perceived as being the path of those incapable of
doing anything useful with their lives. This is such a huge dishonoring of women, it
simply takes my breath away.
So “equal pay for equal work,” sounds reasonable on the surface, but those of us who have been wives
and mothers are more familiar with, “no pay for lots of work.” See, it turns out that there are many
things in life worth pursuing that don’t involve pay at all, in fact just the opposite. Sacrificial
things that are far from cost effective. So, this idea that women should receive equal pay for equal
work, completely ignores the existence and value of women’s unpaid work. It dismisses the fact that
many of us take time off to become wives, mothers, that we often need flex time to address the concerns
of children and families, that we wrestle to balance careers and families, and that anyone with a lick of
sense, prioritizes their families over their jobs.
There is no “equal” anywhere in the world. There is lots of difference and diversity, but this idea
that we can level the playing field, balance the scales, and create something called equality, is a
This will sound like a bit of female chauvinism, but I say it a rather tongue in cheek to make a point,
mostly to some of the men who think “equal pay for equal work” is some great gift they offer women in
our march towards equality. If you really want to know what “equal pay for equal work” would genuinely
look like, you owe women your very lives. Every dime you are capable of earning, your health, your time,
even a willingness to lay down your life protecting a family. That is the biological reality and it
certainly doesn’t look fair or equal. Men’s value in the biological equation is closely entwined with
their very expendability. That is a cold and clinical look at the harsh reality of biological “equality.”
Your very lives.
Those who promote “equal pay for equal work,” actually cheapen the contributions of women and sell us
short, implying that women’s value in the world can have a price tag, a monetary value assigned, as if
we can be defined in a very male-dominated way, by the results of our paid economic labor. The truth is,
women’s genuine value lays in the sacrificial nature of all our unpaid work, as wives, mothers, teachers, caregivers, servers of the community.
Before any men get their hackles up and think I’m launching a demand for compensation for being female,
it’s a debt that’s already been paid. For centuries men and women have participated in this biological
exchange, this metaphorical kind of transaction between the genders. It isn’t just women who have given
their all, it’s men too. Sometimes their very lives.
As to which gender got the short end of the stick in the biological deal, that’s the subject of endless
debate. Intelligent women however, have never had to waste a moment demanding “equality,” because we know
the game we got going on is already rigged in our favor.
For those women who claim they don’t want husbands, families, children, of course you don’t. You want a
STEM degree, a bunch of student debt, and 9 cats. In the Western world in 2014 you have the freedom to
pursue just that, but the fact that you are so eager to attack those of us living a different dream,
doesn’t convince me that you’ve found the path to fulfillment.