Skip to main content

NOTICE: The Charter Vision project is dormant as of January 2008. This website is provided for archival purposes only.

Ain’t I a Working Woman: An Opinion on Inequality in the Workplace

Caitlin (Grade 11 / Avalon) Originally published May 2004
Editors’ note: Caitlin wrote this, as well as Oppression and Inequality Classism and College, for a class that she is taking through PSEO at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.

Sojourner Truth was a symbol of women’s suffrage. She spoke out in the late 19th century about the inequality of women. One of her most publicized speeches, “Ain’t I a Woman?”, touched on the topic of being an African-American woman, in a time when only white women received special treatment. Sojourner Truth seems like a faraway symbol of history. Property laws are more favorable to women than they were in Sojourner’s time. Women are in a much better state of power. Yet, the inequality of women has worn a new mask; it hides in the pay checks and in the workplace, hidden behind the strength of the women workers of America.

Women of the 21st century are dealing with inequality in the work force. On average, women make 77% of the weekly earnings of men, according to the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCOW). African-American women earn 67% of the weekly average of men, and Latino womenget a whopping 55% of what men make. Asian/Pacific ladies on average take the cake with 87% of the weekly earnings of their male counterparts.

I witness first hand the madness of the smaller paycheck. My dad works at an unnamed college in the Twin Cities. His female co-worker doing the same job makes a couple thousand dollars a year less than he does, and she has worked for the school roughly a year and a half longer. Young women around the country will be facing the same injustices as my father’s co-worker in the future. I will be part of that new generation of women in the work force someday, and I will have to fight to make sure that I am paid the same as my male co-workers.

But to the point, I am privileged, because of the color, or the lack of color in my skin. As a while woman, my battle for equal pay is nothing like that of Latino women or African-American women. I will only represent a gender rather than representing women and an ethnicity. By realizing this, I am directly pointing out similar troubles that Sojourner Truth had. The same contempt for society that denies people of minority with the same rights, economic stature and representation that the Cacuasian population has grown to take for granted. So the next time you tell me that women are equal, I want you to take a good look at who works in your office, represents you in the legislature, and finally who flips your burgers.

Comments are closed.