What a Woman is Worth

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the newly tapped (female) CEO of GM. The article made the point that though she had never been in that role, but had worked at every level of the company. She will be making significantly less than the man she is replacing, a man who had held the top spot in many industries before he moved the GM, a new industry for him.

A Facebook argument alighted, with some of my white, male friends arguing that women should just ask for more money. As if it were that easy.

Then, I spoke with my manager friend who knows that she makes less than her peers, and works more hours, does more work, handles more people. Anecdotal evidence supports the idea that companies value the time of women less than that of men. Why? Because they have children? Because they may get called out for a sick day? Because they don’t have testicles?

Men have children. Men might get called out for a sick day. Men have families with needs. But their time is somehow still worth more.

We hear it time and again, and I’m not going to argue the point. Despite what I think or feel or know in my heart to be true, that women are worth as much as men because we are humans, I can’t convince the entire world to come along with me on that.

So I’ll just point you to this book edited by Tamara Lunardo and containing essays by strong, thoughtful, smart, marginalized and de-marginalized women.

What a Woman is Worth is a book I wish we didn’t need. I wish the conversation was over. But until rape survivors aren’t blamed for being raped, until a woman doing the same job earns equal pay, until it’s not assumed that women do the domestic work while men are the real earners, we will continue to need books like this.

Of course, I’m invested in the book: I’m a contributor, but I also believe strongly in its mission. I do hope you’ll read it.