Several year sgo the Susan B. Anthony $1 coin was being discussed and someone asked "Why does it have to be a $1 coin?" I answered "Because they can't make a 73 cent coin."
The U.S. Government established the coin and circulated it from 1979 to 1981. It was circulated again in 1999. I'm sure the discussion about the coin happened in 1999, right about the time women made about 73 cents for every $1 earned by a man in the U.S. Study after study shows that not only do women get paid less then men in general but are often paid less then men for the same job.
The good news is the gap is closing. Today, the gap is only 79 cents for every $1 a man makes. But the gap for African American and Latino women is wider. And I believe unfortunately, the gap is closing in part, because the pay level for most Americans has not kept pace with prior decades.
I know there are many reasons for the gap. Women spent years being detered from high-paying jobs held by men (insert white males here). Women were not encouraged to be lawyers, doctors, engineers, heads of companies, and similar. While there is nothing wrong with being a nurse or a teacher, for women of my mom's generation, those were two main career choices for a woman.
It's also difficult to pay a woman the same pay as a man if her full value has not yet been realized. It's still less than 100 years since women have been allowed to vote in the U.S. And over the past 50 years, laws or social practices have changed so much that no one blinks if a married woman has her own checking account.
I think some of the changes started in households across the country. My mom wanted to make sure her three daughters understood there were other choices for women. My sister became a nurse and eventually, the chief executive officer of a health care system. I recall my parents and our family doctor talking to my sister about medical school. They wanted to make sure she wasn't choosing the traditional, expected route. My sister graduated from high school in 1973.
Today, in 2018, we have female police officers, firefighters, company CEOs, miltary officers, lawyers, doctors, engineers and the like. We also have many fine nurses and teachers. The choices have expanded for women. Young girls are encouraged to develop their interest in math and science.
Use the Morris Area High School Plaid Pillagers robotics team as an example. Over the past several years, many of their core members have been girls. Some of those past and existing girls will become engineers or computer programmers.
While we have traveled far, we only have to take a glimpse of the news to learn that the workplace for women can be hostile for women, particularly for those who choose less traditional jobs or careers.
Women need and want what we all desire in the work world. We want choices, to be respected and supported. And we want to get paid for it, just like a man.