There has been a lot of chatter this year about the Paycheck Fairness Act which was proposed back in 2009 to counteract the issue of women making 77-86 cents (depending on whose data you read) to every dollar a man makes. It has faced significant road blocks since its inception and continued to be blocked via filibuster (what hasn't these days) earlier this year. It seems like a no brainer to me. If a woman does the same job as a man, that pay should be equal. Why wouldn't it be. I know that's idealistic, but it makes sense to me.
One of the push back issues for the Act is the fact that women often take time off or leave the workplace for extended periods of time to have and raise a family. Women who do this often come back with a wider gap between their pay than that of their male counterparts who didn't take the time off. While, I understand the rationale to a point, it goes back to - if it's the same job, the same performance standard, it should be equal pay, end of story. Determining that is another matter entirely, but the pushback on the Act itself was kind of confusing - fair is fair.
This past week, my work colleagues and I met in our staff meeting room to schedule parent/teacher conferences which are coming up in a couple of weeks. Trying to make it more convenient and increase the chance of our parents showing up to the meeting, we try and schedule sibling conference times close together. For about 30 minutes, right after school on a Tuesday, we engage in sort of a free-for-all of scheduling. Identifying teacher colleagues with siblings in their class, locating those colleagues by calling them from across the room, lining up to wait for the teachers on the list to become free, coordinating 2 or more times that match up by fifteen minutes can be anxiety ridden for the faint at heart. This year I had multiple with three siblings at school and one with 4 (5 kids in all to schedule with 5 different teachers). Usually, I'm right in the middle of the action to get my times booked, but this year I was hot (it was 107 degrees outside that day) and tired, so I sat at one of the tables and waited for them to come to me. I spent that 30 minutes nodding and saying, "That's fine," when someone asked me to set a time. But I digress...
Anyhow, while I sat at the table working with someone, another teacher (I'll call her teacher A) came up to book a time with me. While she waited for me, another teacher (Teacher B) came to her and I caught bits and pieces of the conversation. The gist...Teacher B wanted to book a time with Teacher A. B already had a pretty full schedule so asked A for a later time (we are contractually required to be available from 3:00 - 6:00 on that particular day). Teacher A responded with, "No, I'm a mom and won't stay that late." At first I wasn't fazed. The mom card is played on a regular basis by a member of my team so I'm pretty much used to it anymore. But since then, I've kind of been obsessing over it. You won't stay that late even though those are the required hours? So because you are a mom you're not required to be available for that time block like the rest of us? What about the teachers who are Moms (like teacher B) who are booking times later in the day as per their contract...does that make them a bad mom? There are so many things this person is saying when she says, "I'm a mom so I won't (fill in the blank) at my job."
Since I'm not a mom, this is just my view looking in on the situation, but I'm thinking this is part of the reason we can't get equal pay for equal work. Some of us (women) are not willing to do the equal work due to family/home commitments or the perception of them anyhow. Which is certainly their right to do. However, how can we expect to be paid the same if we play that card and men usually don't. Just something to ponder.
Now, in my own little world of teacher compensation, we are paid equally - men and women. Our salary is based on number of years taught and number graduate units attained. It is placed on a salary schedule and everyone has equal opportunity to attain the highest salary level if desired. The comment made above irked me a bit because of that salary schedule. Teacher A is getting paid essentially the same as the rest of us, but when refusing to work the expected hours that she is getting paid for, it is not equal work. Heck, I don't want to stay until 6 either, but I often do work that late, even when it's not a contractual day like this one is. And I don't have a Mom card to play. I have other cards though...plans, appointments, exhaustion, LIFE. Why is it that we accept one, but not the others?
My intent isn't to bash moms. In fact, women as a group spend enough time second guessing themselves they don't need anyone else doing it for them. I know the working mom (part time and full time) vs. stay at home mom is already one decision that gets a lot of judgement from those looking in. I'm not trying to add to that. With that being said, I would expect someone who has chosen to work at a paying job to do that job in order to get paid, regardless of them being a mom. Am I being unreasonable here?
rainbow veggie bowl
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