The latest figures I've seen show that a woman earns somewhere between 77 cents and 91 cents for every dollar that her male counterpart makes in a similar job. Why the wide range of estimates? Some studies adjust for educational level, job experience, and years in the workforce; others do not.
This is a problem in itself, because we all (I assume) believe in equal pay for equal work.
But, women, be careful what you ask for. In my demographic there are a lot of disparities. I know five or six couples, in their late 50s to early 60s, where the man held the primary job for 20 or 30 years. Then he got laid off, while the wife was either going back to school, or starting a new job, or stepping up her career after the kids went off to college.
These men are now working freelance, or "consulting." or in one case working behind the checkout counter at our local supermarket. In this substrata of the American populace, the women are earning somewhere between $2 and $10 for every dollar that the man earns.
Does this counter-trend make the overall numbers seem more equitable? I doubt it.
Now I don't mean to make light of the above figures. There is definitely something wrong with our economy. But, truthfully, that's not what prompted this post. Instead, it's another economic disparity -- a figure I saw in The New Republic: "The average American spends an estimated $144 celebrating Mother's Day, but only an average of $82 commemorating Father's Day."
Of course, some might argue that mother and father are not comparable jobs. Regardless, all I have to say about it is this: My kids owe me $82!*
*Okay, to be fair, my daughter phoned me from Colorado -- long distance, no less -- but that doesn't even cost a dime anymore. And my son came to visit . . . do I count his mileage?