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Equal Pay For Equal Work: Why The ERA Is So Important

It's 2015: We've come a very long way since women's suffrage and trailblazers like Susan B. Anthony fighting for our right to vote, get an education and live like any other human being.

Yet, as far as we have come, women have even further to go in terms of equal rights.

Sure, we can go to college, get an education and enter the work force as easily as men.

But, once we're there, it's harder for us to maintain the same lifestyle when we're still not making salaries that compare to our male counterparts.

According to Now.org, women are still only making $0.77 for every $1.00 made by men.

Sure, you may think that difference is small, but the fact there is even a difference is the real issue.

Celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Patricia Arquette have spoken out to promote the issue, and they are trying to inform and positively influence a generation of women who will enter the workforce with unequal opportunities.

It was only just a few months ago when Patricia Arquette took to the stage to accept her Oscar and used the opportunity to influence millions.

“It's our time to have wage equality once and for all!” she said, demanding equal rights and pay for women.

But, Patricia isn't the only celebrity to use her platform for the good of society.

Yesterday, Meryl Streep sent an individual letter to each member of Congress urging them to bring back the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was passed by Congress in 1972 but has since been stalled.

Only 35 states have ratified it, and that is only three short of the 38 states needed to add it to the Constitution.

In the letter, Streep states:

“I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality — for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or — by actively supporting the equal rights amendment.”

Of course, equal rights are vital to society. We live in a country where our founding fathers wrote a Constitution that states, “All men are created equal.”

But, what about us women?

A study done by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) revealed the wage gap gravely affects female college graduates entering the workforce.

As the years go by, female college graduates gradually make less money than their male counterparts.

You can graduate with a male friend from the same university with the same degree, yet you may make less than he will.

There are ways we can all help end the gender pay gap, and here are just a few:

1. Be open about salaries.

When people enter the workforce, ultimately, they are told it's inappropriate and unprofessional to discuss pay.

It's difficult to understand pay differentiation and unequal pay if workers are unaware what their peers are making.

The first step to obtaining a real solution is being open about changing unspoken norms.


2. Unite men and women.

Whether you identify as male or female, you should be on board for this amendment. Eventually, many of us will get married and want to start a family.

If you're a male, and your wife is in the workforce, it's beneficial for both of you to be bringing in more money, not less.

It's not enough for you to be making the bacon and having your wife just bring in some chump change.

You should both want to bring in the most you can to both support yourselves, each other and your future family.


3. Use your voice.

We live in a day and age where activism can be spread by simply writing a Facebook status or Twitter update.

Just take a look back over the years: The Arab Spring used social media to take down an oppressive regime across the world and unite people under one cause.

Black Lives Matter united millions across the world to combat racial injustice. Use your voice to support this amendment.

We're always on our phones and social media; it's time to use our pages for a good cause.


4. Work on maternity leave and paid leave.

In many instances, women enter the workforce and ultimately leave after having children. Why? Because our country has a pretty bad maternity leave program.

Even though we have evolved as a nation and as society, our childcare and support of new mothers hasn't evolved with us.

It's an economic issue where the elite are able to afford this luxury, while the 99 percent falls short of the resources. Due to this, Republicans and Democrats have yet to come together on the issue.

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Alexa Tanney

Contributor

Alexa Tanney is a gypsy soul from New York City with absolutely no filter. She is a media/journalism graduate, hopes to marry Jon Stewart and enjoys long, romantic walks to the fridge. You can get inside her head at AlexaTanney.com
Alexa Tanney is a gypsy soul from New York City with absolutely no filter. She is a media/journalism graduate, hopes to marry Jon Stewart and enjoys long, romantic walks to the fridge. You can get inside her head at AlexaTanney.com

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