Friday, August 27, 2010

90 Years Later

I have mixed thoughts about Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison's 'Reality Check' article on Newsweek today, commemorating 90 years since the 19th ammendment was ratified.

I'm sure a lot of the statistics they quote are true, and many of them are not encouraging. But as I read the sobering figures, I found myself wondering: are they the whole story?

Take this one, for example:

[A woman will] have to work harder if she wants to enter into politics, too. Sarah Palin may call herself a feminist, but women still hold just 16.8 percent of seats in Congress, and there are fewer than 20 female world leaders presently in power.

The implicit question is, I think, are there as many women as men wishing and vying for seats in Congress? I don't know the answer - and the article doesn't provide one.

In another statistic, the authors claim:

She’ll probably watch her mother spend just as much time at work as her father but make less money—no matter the field—and once she gets home, she'll do eight hours more housework a week than her husband.

The link about the wage gap is certainly interesting, and perhaps even alarming - it claims that the average female college graduate will earn $1.2 million less over her lifetime than her male college-educated peers. But the second link included above - the case against marriage - contradicts this assertion that women make less money:

Since the early 1900s, the driving force behind marriage, along with procreation, was that women couldn’t land well-paying jobs: we relied on our husbands to survive. [...] But today, we no longer need to "marry up": women are more educated (we make up nearly 60 percent of college graduates) and better compensated (urban women in their 20s actually outearn their male peers).

For me, the article, while interesting, offers as many questions as answers. So I wonder what the real story is?

I should probably wrap this post up by saying something thoughtful and conclusive, but grad school orientation starts tomorrow morning and I'm supposed to be studying for a music history exam right now.

Did I mention I'm going to grad school?

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