By Bill Buchanan
A recent survey shows that women now make 83 cents for every dollar made by men. That is shameful. But if that was not bad enough, it turns out to be an improvement. As recently as 2000, women made only 76 cents for every dollar made by men. In 1979, that figure was only 62 cents —- a little more than half.
Women now outnumber men in both the workplace and college. For me, that brings to mind the question that if men are not in college and not at work, exactly where are they and what are they doing? I mean are they at the ball game — or what?
The survey added that while more and more women are breadwinners, in many households they are also expected to keep hearth and home. Unfortunately, I had firsthand experience with this situation. My daddy died of lung cancer in 1965, when I was 10 and my sister was 7. My mother immediately became the sole parent, as well as the sole breadwinner for our family.
My mother had always worked outside the home. That was unusual back in the ‘50s. It was even more unusual that she was employed in a field other that the traditional ones occupied by most women at that time — nursing or teaching. My mother worked for a rural electrical power company in the bookkeeping department, later moving up and eventually becoming the No. 2 person with the company. She was smart and personable. But her promotions were delayed by the fact that she was a woman working in an old boys’ network type of company. She trained two other men to take the position that she eventually acquired about 10 to 15 years after she would have had the job had she been a man.
Mother rarely complained about the situation, and was an extremely loyal employee, working with that company for almost 40 years. But it seems almost criminal that a loyal, dedicated and competent employee was held back so long simply because of her gender, perhaps even passed over with the justification that the men “had a family to support.” Kind of ironic, isn’t it? Add to that the sexual harassment that many women faced in those times (and in some cases, to this day), and you cannot help but have tremendous admiration for the courage and determination they displayed.
And now, in 2010, women are still not treated equally. A friend of mine once advised me, “If you want a position filled, hire a man. If you want work done, hire a woman.” Well, if we do hire a woman, let’s pay them equally. To do anything less is shameful.
At this time, I would like to express my appreciation to the outstanding group of women we have here at the OVN: Michelle Delema, Kathy Eicher, Linda Griffin, Jodie Miller, Nancy Sandstrom, and Misty Volaski all do a terrific job here at the newspaper. I also thank our freelance writers and photographers Mary M. Long, Amber Lennon and Holly Roberts, as well as our cartoonist Colleen McDougal and summer intern, Michelaina Smith, for their valuable contributions to the newspaper. They all make the rest of us look better than we really are.