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Letter: A response to a disparaging article about Women’s Day

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the views of the Collegian or its editorial board. The author is not affiliated with  the Collegian.

By Sean Waters, Instructor, Department of English


Dear Editor,

Emily Faulkner claimed that the Day without Women protest was “utterly pointless because it is protesting something that doesn’t exist,” namely the wage gap between men and women. I beg to differ, and I invite Faulkner and those who believe the wage gap is a myth to check out the facts (yes, facts, not feelings) behind her easy-to-disprove claim.

Faulkner claimed that women earning 77 cents to the man’s dollar could be explained by choice of major. The Collegian’s nice graphic showed that men are the majority in the best-paying majors (such as Petroleum Engineering), and that women are the majority in the worst-paying majors (such as Social Work). This graphic, and her logic, sorely misses the point: wage gaps exist within each of these professions.

Just Google “gender wage gap by occupation,” and you will find scores of credible sources that prove that the wage gap is real. The Wall Street Journal found that “Women earn less than men in 439 of 446 major U.S. occupations.” Within the field of petroleum engineering, for example, The Wall Street Journal found that women earn 82 percent of men’s pay; in Financial Advising, women only earn 62 percent to their male counterparts (talk about an old boys club). These exhaustive and well-sourced statistics are corroborated by other independent studies done by Fortune, Fast Company, Business Insider and others… hardly ‘misguided liberal’ publications.

So before anyone else lumps feminists together and claims that they are ‘man-hating’ or ‘ridiculous,’ they might consider some basic research to get their facts straight. Even better, it might also help to realize that “feminism” is not a one-size-fits-all movement; Wikipedia lists nineteen types of feminisms. People march for different reasons.

Faulkner’s misguided article, ironically, showed the need for the protest to exist as a form of education. Apparently, even at a university, more people need to know that the playing field is still uneven, especially in STEM fields. We ought to consider why and how we might work together to build stronger opportunities for young women in 439 of the 446 major occupations the United States. Maybe the strike isn’t the answer, but at least it’s starting larger conversations.

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