The Atlantic recently came out with an article on a new study on the gender wage gap conducted by Stephen Rose and Heidi Hartmann for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Annie Lowrey concluded with quite a thought-provoking sentence that despite social and political changes to promote paid leave, a pay gap may still persist since whether it’s because they have to take leave and work in different fields as men or are just paid less for being a woman. However, “public-policy changes would give women more control over their working lives, and would help foster a more equitable workplace. And that would be good for everybody.”
The key word here is equity. The wage gap reflects on the differences between women and men. Women will inevitably take time off or work part time to care for children (childbirth is no small feat people!) or other family members. But on top of that, while some workplaces have childcare on site, not all women are able to work in such open minded companies. And America is not an easy place to live with a limited social safety net. Time off is not always an option - sometimes, it is simply too costly for women not to go back to work. Women don’t always have access to lead both fulfilling working life while being a hands on parent. We are assuming that women and men are exactly the same and thus need to be accounted for through equality. Looking at both parties the same reduces the contexts and other responsibilities women have in addition to a professional life. And it’s completely unfair. And it’s something I think about often as a young Muslim American whether it is possible for women to balance their duty to family while making a professional contribution.
This actually reminds me of a verse from the Quran which states,“Men shall have the share of what they have earned, and women shall have the share of what they have earned" (4:33).
It’s amazing to me that a scripture from over 1400 years ago reminds us that it’s important to have equity between men and women. But that also means we need to create equitable cerebral opportunities for equitable environment that allows women to make the positive on our world and on their terms