“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
Beyoncé has voiced her frustration with the myth that gender equality has been achieved before, and now here she is writing in the recently released Shriver Report on the subject. I particularly like how she emphasizes the need for both genders to reject the status quo as unacceptable and puts the focus on unlearning old attitudes: “We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life.”
The report, created by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, concludes that closing the pay gap between men and women would cut the poverty rate for working women in half and increase the overall GDP by 2.9 percent. It also highlights how other policy changes–like paid sick days, affordable child care, and increasing the minimum wage–would help the one in three women in this country who are living in poverty or are “teetering on its brink.”
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing..