The Dickinsonian is a student-run college newspaper at Dickinson College. The latest issue contained a cool new column from the Women’s Center. Unfortunately, the article this week had a major weak point – an economic misunderstanding that’s actually been reported on relatively extensively.
The author wrote:
In these recent years of an unstable economy, employers are being more cautious with whom to employ. With the employment rate last seen at 8.6 percent, corporations are left with fewer laborers with more workers needed. From their perspective, hiring women is a liability, given that they would need maternity leave and an extended flexible schedule.
But the employment rate among women is lower than among men because of the wage gap. In these economic times, employers are hiring women to do the same work at lower cost. On the one hand, the employment gap is narrowing. On the other, everything else the author says is still true. Women make significantly less than men (there are a variety of different figures out their quantifying this, one of which is included in the article – women make $0.77 for every dollar men make). Top positions in companies are still predominantly filled by men. We have a deplorable lack of women in government. And to top all of that off, a big part of our society is still hung up on traditional gender roles and the idea that women should be cooking, cleaning, and raising children.
A variety of economists and researchers are studying women in the workforce and related issues. There is a lot of material on the internet available about this topic. All of it agrees that there is significant inequality in the workplace in the United States and in the majority of other countries as well. It’s a subject we should all be aware of and upset by. It’s also a subject we should stay informed about because factual accuracy can only help us build a solid argument for why something needs to be done.