How unequal pay (gender pay gap) is linked with deep-rooted disregard towards femininity
Historically, households have depended on the earnings of women in diminishing poverty, for instance migrant women have been over-represented in the caring sectors of economies while their labour helped their families survive. Women’s labour helped marginalized people survive, yet at present in many countries unequal pay remains a problem for many women, making this a socially unjust contradiction. It has been 52 years since President John F. Kennedy signed America’s Equal Pay Act, but according to BBC (2013), the average woman working full time in the U.S. made just 77 cents for every dollar a man made. This relates to a climate in the U.S. that still ridicules and looks down on femininity, while both subtle and major cultural forces support hypermasculinity.
Migrant women in America who are underpaid still face racism while they are expected to perform in the caring and domestic sectors. Meanwhile, spheres that are seen as traditionally masculine such as the military and technology have high expenditure that are profitable for men, while simultaneously having negative impact on health care. Although the U.S. is one of the two nations without guaranteed paid maternity leave, which in turn badly impact health care, the over-spending on military is still prioritized on the false premise of saving women abroad (imperialism) while migrant and refugee women in the U.S. still suffer from both racism and a gender pay gap. This nature of hypermasculinity accelerates historically, as shown when Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012. The catalyst that deepens the problems surrounding the gender pay gap over the years is still the culture of hypermasculinity that disregards equality and health care, especially health care for women. It is important to educate people on how valuing hypermasculinity over femininity, to the point of normalizing unequal pay, is antithetical to ideals of progress, modernity, democracy and fairness. For instance, Jackson Katz is the author of the book ‘’The Macho Paradox’’ who emphasizes the importance for the role of men in eliminating the hypermasculine code of conduct. It is significant to further educate men on stopping the acceleration of hypermasculinity, which deepens the contradiction between relying on women’s uncompensated labour and normalizing the gender pay gap. Overall, toxic hypermasculinity is also restrictive for men.
BBC (2013), Mind the gap: Gender pay inequality in the US, URL: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-22076970
Katz, J. (2006). Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Sourcebooks, Inc.