NOTE: This was originally written for Women's Equality Day in August of 2003. Women's wages have gone down since then.
I found the following statistics on The Feminist Majority Foundation site today
On this planet, right now:
1,500 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day
A woman's risk of dying in childbirth: 1 in 25 to 40 in developing countries,
1 in 3,000 in developed countries.
Source: 1994 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development
75% of refugees and displaced persons are women and children.
Source: Wistat, 1994 & UNHCR
Out of 1.3 billion people living in absolute poverty, 70% are women.
More than one million babies die each year from malnutrition, neglect and abuse who would not have died if they had not been born girls
Source: Education Working Group, UNICEF
In America today:
One woman is physically abused every eight seconds
One woman is raped every six minutes .
Source: National Center on Women and Family Law, USA, 1988/New York Times, 19 October 1994
Domestic violence is the number one cause of serious injury to women ages 18-49.
At the current rate of progress, it would take 475 years for women to reach equality with men as senior managers.
Source: 1994 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development, United Nations 1995
US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Women constitute almost 47 percent of this country’s labor force,
There are only six Fortune 500 women CEOs
According to statistics released by the US Census Bureau on September 25, 2001
For every 1 Dollar earned by White men:
White women working full-time earn only 73 cents
African-American women earn only 65 cents
Latina women earn only 53 cents
So on today, Women's Equality Day, I'd like to make a modest proposal. Since our society can't protect us - 1 in 3 women will be victims of sexual abuse in their lives; and won't promote us; and most of all isn't paying us for the work we do, why not cut to the chase. Instead of proclamations and pats on the head and the kind of placating that Bill Maher calls "making women nod", how about one simple concrete solution. I want reparations.
Now, the African-American community has talked about reparations for a while. The problem with paying reparations for slavery is that the people who were enslaved are no longer alive, so even if we all agree that reparations are in order, there's a very real difficulty in figuring out how much to pay and to whom. Not so with Gender Gap Reparations.
I propose a two step plan. First, take all of the Social Security records for every living woman in the United States and get her total lifetime earnings. If she's white, add 27%; Black, 35%, Hispanic, 47% and for those of us who don't fit into any of those categories - Native Americans, Asians, etc - we'll take the Latina rate of 47%.
Take the money out of the bloated, bullshit defense budget, and pay us . I mean send my check right now. I've worked with defense contracts, and believe me, there's more fat than fight in that budget. You could do twice the work for half the money with a bit of common sense and some basic good business practices. Tighten your belts, boys - we've been doing it for years.
Ok, so Step One is done and no one is the poorer for it. Step Two is going to be a little harder. Well, not really harder - just unpopular. Step Two is simply give every woman currently employed a raise in the percentage already discussed for each group. Business is not going to like this idea, so let's put it into perspective:
If the minimum wage had risen at the same level pace as executive pay since 1990, it would be $25.50 an hour, not $5.15.
So you can pay our girls the $6.67, 6.96, and 7.58 (based on $5.15 minimum wage) and yes, for Goddess' sake round up or you can pay us all the 25.50 an hour we'd be making if you corporate raiders weren't skimming off the top. We're willing to be reasonable, and frankly, it's more than you deserve.