It is no secret that there is a wage discrepancy between men and women who perform the same tasks and have the same jobs, both within and outside Canada. Numerous studies have been conducted to answer the question of why this is the case, which have produced a large range and variety of different explanations from discrimination to gender differences. That is all very well and good, but my question is: “Why is this wage discrepancy still an issue?” If the fact that men and women are paid differently for doing the same jobs is openly admitted and acknowledged then why has the process of rectifying this problem taken so long to produce a solution?
Yes, the pay gap has shrunk in recent years, but why is it only a gradual change?
What is needed, in my opinion, is a more strict equalization in the socialization of boys and girls from an early age, both to reduce gender stereotypes as well as to encourage girls to strive for more prestigious professions and careers. In effect, I think having this equalization of men and women in all different kinds of professions will change the existing norm of more men occupying more prestigious jobs than women. By changing this norm a pay discrepancy in salary between men and women who are employed in the same professions will not seem as natural or justifiable as it perhaps does today.
This practice of equal socialization needs to start in schools as well in the household. Parents need to be encouraging of both girls and boys, reassuring them that any career they want to choose is an acceptable choice, as well as encouraging them to strive to better themselves and ignoring what gender stereotypes tell them.
Kids need to be taught the same kinds of lessons in school.
To simply accept that girls are naturally better at reading and writing than boys, and boys are naturally better at math and science than girls is not acceptable. There should be no reason for this discrepancy in learning, which seems to inevitably follow in the child’s career path.
Jill Patterson is a volunteer contributor to the Manitoban.