A new study released by the White House today shows that American women are more highly educated than ever before and make up a majority of the white-collar workforce for the first time in history.
But getting smarter doesn’t mean we’re getting richer: We’re still paid only 75% of what men earn for the same job, whether we’re flipping burgers or splitting atoms.
Not only that, but once we get home from work and slip into our sweats, we’re usually the ones cooking, cleaning, and spending the most time caring for the kids. (No surprise there, but it’s nice to have written proof!)
Some other highlights from the Women in America report, which the Obama Administration touts as the first comprehensive look at how women are faring in nearly 50 years:
- The average age of first-time moms is 25, up from 21 in 1970
- Among women giving birth for the first time, those in their 30s are rising dramatically: Thirtysomethings account for 22% of first-time moms. In 1970, it was just 4%.
- The number of women in their midtwenties who don’t have any children has jumped to 46%. (Up from 31% in 1976.)
- Women earn 57% of all college degrees, and in the 25-to-34 age bracket, for the first time, women are more likely to have a college degree than men.
- Although women make up 51% of the workforce in managerial, professional and related occupations, 70% of those females professionals are working in the lower-paying fields of teaching or health care.
- Most of the women who work or are actively seeking employment are moms with kids under 18: 71% now compared to 47% in 1975.
- More than one in every four working women – 27% — brings home a fatter paycheck than her working husband.
While there may not be a lot of surprises in this study, there definitely are some puzzlers:
- On an average weekday, a working mom spends only 40 minutes more engaged in household activities such as cooking, cleaning and household management, than her working spouse. (Recount, please! And hook the guys up to lie-detectors this time, unless you count pushing buttons on the TV remote as a household activity)
- On any given workday, a working mom spends an hour caring for someone else, and her working husbands spends 40 minutes doing so. (Hello? Could you please send us the instruction manual showing us how those 2.3 children you say we have got fed, bathed, finished their homework, stopped squabbling and were down for the night in a total of 100 minutes?)
But we hate to sound all whiny without offering some practical solutions for the biggest problem here, so … Since decades of legislation, lawsuits, protests and appeals still haven’t closed the gender gap when it comes to equal pay for equal work, let’s consider another way to level the field here:
As long as women are paid 25% less than men, charge them 25% less for everything, across the board. A nationally mandated discount for women only. We’ll pay 25% less for our restaurant meals than men, and we’ll pay 25% less for our clothes (including shoes!), haircuts, and the gasoline to fill the tanks of that car that cost us 25% less than a guy would have paid. We’ll take the same discount on the cost of tuition and books while we pursue our superior educations, too, thank you very much.
Just one more thing: Since we’re using our new discount to buy that big-screen TV for the family room (and because the kids apparently require no care after 7:30 p.m), we’d very much appreciate it if you could you please hand over the remote now.