As semi-inspiring as it may seem, the idea that women almost dominate is not actually a slogan to lead the new generation of powerful women. Instead, it is a simple description of our current stature in the United States workforce. According to an article by Karen Kornbluh and Rachel Homer called "Paycheck Feminism," women are gaining on men in the workplace. Kind of.
Numerically speaking, women now comprise almost more than 50% of paid workers. Which might make sense, as women also outnumber men in terms of world population by a slight margin. Should we thus occupy the corresponding jobs in that case? Would that be equality?
Yet on an interesting and significant note, the recent economic downfall actually contributed to the higher proportion of female workers, as the majority of those who were laid off are men. Still, with or without the fiscal fiasco, women have been consistently gaining on men for years, and were thus destined to reach this inevitable threshold anyway.
Yes. Women will dominate. And soon. So what does this mean for you?
Shall we turn the tables and install a matriarchy once and for all? To even the scales of his story with our dictatorship? >groan< Sounds like a lot of work. Not that women are strangers to work.
On the contrary: women still work the double or the triple day, fulfilling household duties even though they occupy more paid occupations than ever. Nevertheless, they do not make the same amount of money as men do for the same positions. Luckily though, the stats are improving.
According to the aforementioned article, women make approximately $.79 for every male dollar -- an improvement from when we made an average of $.70 for each male dollar a few years ago. Yes, we have advanced 9 cents. Fantastic!
So are we done inching our way through societal glass ceilings?
Probably not (or rather, hopefully not).
In contrast to popular delusion, this is not a 'post-feminist' era. That would imply that we are beyond the need for feminist progress and equality, which is apparently not the case.
As illuminated by our authors in recent studies, which have mirrored previous ones from years gone by, our current institutions still favor "Leave it to Beaver" style family units that for the most part, no longer exist as a majority percentage of the population. In other words, most women no longer stay home while their husbands work to support the family.
The proverbial 'she' does everything -- and men are starting to share more household and child-rearing responsibilities. While doing everything is not necessarily a 'bad thing' for men and women, the institutions that regulate our society might need to accommodate the changing needs of the new generation.
As feminist observers of the phenomenon, Kornbluh and Homer suggest the following revisions, which could be a great start to a better, more equal world. One glaring truth that strikes us right to the core is how women are shamelessly charged more for health insurance simply because of their gender. As quoted in their article:
Women tend to pay more for individual health-insurance policies, even if they don't include maternity benefits. Some insurers charge women as much as 50 percent more, while employers pay more per individual in their group health plans if their workforce is predominately women -- a system known as 'gender rating.'
Indeed: there it is in black and white. And to add insult to injury, women are more and more often refused coverage or charged extra for 'preexisting conditions' such as previous pregnancies. Or even more ludicrous: a woman can be denied health insurance or charged a higher premium if she has been a victim of domestic violence!
Health insurance matters aside (as we all know that the system is fraught with corruption), the authors also advocate for granting benefits to part-time workers. Since part-time workers are disproportionately women due to family and care-taking responsibilities, such a measure would lend greater security to those who are already disadvantaged -- an action that may lessen the blow of the uneven playing field.
Furthermore, the notion of government-mandated maternity leave could very much help women succeed in their burgeoning roles in society's new major work force. As such, a mandated paternity leave might also contribute to our goals for social equality. If 'it takes two' to create a child, then it stands to reason that both parents should be able to care for that child, and thus why not officially allow men to do so without relinquishing their jobs?
And finally, equal pay for equal work would be nice. Although we are getting close, it will not happen without our consistent efforts. In the meantime however, the authors suggest that revamping the tax system so that married couples are no longer placed in higher tax brackets could be beneficial to women and society at large. An over-inflation of incomes that often overtaxes the lesser paid of the pair (which tends to be the woman), being taxed as a part of a married couple unit rather a separate indvidual may be largely unfair to all American families. Volunteering another aspect of potential tax reform, Kornbluh and Homer also support the idea of paid childcare as a viable tax-deductible business expense, especially if it allows an otherwise home-bound parent to work.
While these are only some suggestions for improvement, there are of course countless ways to further our goals as we become a more productive, egalitarian society. Ultimately, 'we the people' definitely have the power to change and / or demand institutional reform that will be benefit the highest good of both men and women.