A few days ago, I read a comment on how women are often upheld by their families for their minimal salary while men are criticised for it. Men are expected to earn as much as possible while women are asked to be satisfied with whatever they get. This is not the only way in which the salaries of men and women are treated differently. Women’s salaries are not taken seriously enough to contribute to the financial needs of the house. On the other hand, men’s salaries should be high enough to fulfil the needs of the next generation. But why this difference? Is it fair for either men or women? Why can’t we treat the salary of women and men equally?
In our society, women are rarely expected to earn. But if they do, their efforts and success are undermined by society. Firstly, their job is considered just a hobby that they want to indulge in. It is not seen as a serious dream or aim they want to achieve in life. Or as a means to stand on their own feet. Secondly, their earnings, which are mostly meagre due to the wide gender pay gap in workspaces of all sorts, are not seen as substantial contributions to the finances of the house. Women are often expected to use their earnings to fulfil their wishes- shopping, visits to the spa and whatnot. The money women earn through hard work is reduced to being “pocket money”.
Trivialisation of their work and earnings plays a big role in pushing women off the workforce, as they simply don’t feel all that effort is worth the paycheck.
On the other hand, men are expected to fulfil the role of the oarsmen of the family. Their salaries are expected to be high enough to spill into the pockets of the other family members. So when they earn, rather than appreciating their effort, they are reminded how their salary is not enough to run the family. They are always made to work harder and push the limits so that they can be considered a responsible son, father or groom.
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But dear families, if you keep undermining the salaries of any person, why will they want to move forward? The most basic things required for any person to strive to be better are appreciation and recognition of hard work. If women are not recognised for their hard work, they might become highly demotivated. It is not a hidden fact that women have to make many sacrifices and fight many battles to step out of the house and earn. But if this hard work is not even recognised, won’t women blame themselves for choosing their career that didn’t pay well by compromising their personal lives? Trivialisation of their work and earnings plays a big role in pushing women off the workforce, as they simply don’t feel all that effort is worth the paycheck, keeping in mind that they must do it alongside performing their household duties.
Similarly, if men are not appreciated for their work, they will feel stressed and burdened. The privilege that men have of education and employment will ultimately strangle them. It reduces their worth at their home to the money they bring in and nothing more. What we need to value instead is the hard work and talent that goes into carving careers, keeping aside the gender. Men and women both have the equal right to pursue the career of their choice and this choice shouldn’t be manipulated by the gendered expectations regarding the paycheck.
Views expressed are the author’s own.