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Economic Equality: Are Women Getting The Short End Of The Stick?

Updated on January 10, 2012

Let me just come right out and say it: Women are getting the short end of the stick.

Western societies claim to have equal rights, but when it comes right down to the nitty gritty, the hard and fast earning potential of an individual, men and women do not share an equal status– not in America, and certainly not in other countries. The closest country to an economic sort of equality would be Iceland, as they have almost no differences in average wages paid by gender. (Check it out, their difference in wages is >1%) In my opinion, it’s something that needs to be looked at, especially here in America, where we claim to be a shining beacon of democracy and political equality. If you want the basic elements of political liberty, political equality, and popular sovereignty, (in short democracy in it’s truest sense,)  then it’s time to look to countries who really know what they’re doing. (I.E. Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark.) 

Seriously though, looking just at the differences between the wages of men and women in so-called democracies alone, Iceland leads with less than one percent of a difference, followed (not closely, mind you, yet next in line,) by Belgium at 11%, Denmark at 12%, France at 13%, Australia at 14%, Sweden at 17%, and Finland at 21%. But, you may ask, who comes dead last in this match of democratic nations? Well, it’s good old South Korea, with a whopping 41% difference between the wages of men and women. Expected? Probably. Proper? Hell no. Think about it this way: On average, for every one hundred dollars made by a man, a woman in the same position with the same company in South Korea will make only fifty-nine dollars. That, my friends, is sad. Oh sure, it’s worse in other countries, take the middle east for example, where women aren’t even allowed basic human rights– but that is, in itself a disgusting example of just how extremely male-dominated things can get, making it another matter entirely. It’s our so-called democratic nations, our supposedly civilized, first-world countries, the countries closer to home that claim equality for all that I’m focusing on now. It’s countries like Japan, which is disturbingly right behind South Korea at a startling thirty-nine percent difference in wages between sexes, and of course the good old USA, which, for all its size and supposed glory, still has, on average, about a 23% difference in wages between men and women. Some might say it’s progress– I say we haven’t gone far enough. Even a 1% difference is unacceptable. After all, if men don’t work any harder than women in the same positions, then why would they get paid more?

At the very least, your successes thus far are hard-earned and admirable ladies, but keep your picketing signs handy. It looks like the world still has a lot of pathetic gender-related issues to get over, even in westernized and democratic countries, before the whole of the female population of the world can experience the feeling of true economic equality.


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      Happy 3 years ago

      Great article but it didn't have evneithyrg-I didn't find the kitchen sink!

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Really interesting article--and I might point out that Iceland had the first woman President and now has a woman Prime minister to clean up after the mess the boys made in bringing the country to it's knees financially last fall LOL

      Just to re-inforce your point--I read somewhere that men are losing their jobs at twice the rate women are here in the current economy, because women get paid less for doing the same work. I agree that equal pay for equal work is the way it should be but isn't -- when I was first starting out there was no internet and the NYTimes classified section was where jobs were posted. In those days the jobs were listed under male or female and the female jobs were always clerical and lower paid.......Men really didn't realize they were getting preferential treatment, but women knew damned well they were getting screwed LOL