A One-to-One Ratio
Harri Plotnick is an intern at the Religious Action Center. She belongs to Congregration Keneseth Israel, where she also teaches religious school.
The product of 40 years of feminist work since the main push for the Equal Rights Amendment in the '70s has finally come to fruition. Within the first few months of 2010, women will overtake the previously male majority in the American workforce by constituting more than 50% of the workforce for the first time. This change has been taking place gradually and promises to continue into the future: 58% of college students are now women. These degree-earning women will bound into the workforce in greater numbers than ever, and compete with men for jobs. An equal ratio between the sexes in the workforce is a huge step forward for an important measurable success in the fight for gender equality.
Yet, on average, women still make 77 cents for every dollar men make. We as Jews must continue fighting for equal rights among all groups, and the next step in this front is getting rid of prejudice and hardships particular to women that keeps them earning far below their male peers. More women today are choosing careers in business over career-parenting. With so many women of a younger generation working, time will be part of the catalyst needed to equalize pay. But we must still remember that, in general, working women are concentrated in lower paying, lower status jobs. One of the challenges working women face is motherhood, which places a strain on women to master both a job and children. Our next priority should focus on supporting childcare and after-school care to help working women thrive as parents and keep them in the workplace.