Last spring, HEART remotely taught high school students from Collegio San Carlo, a school in Milan, Italy, about human rights and activism. It was up to the students in the class to choose an issue they were concerned about and do a service project related to their topic. As a group, they decided to host, on International Human Rights Day, a social media campaign on the pay gap between women and men today. The students, with help from their teacher, Virginia Dodi, are taking over HEART’s social media for the day to share what they have learned.
The blog below represents their research, thoughts,and opinions on the issue. We would like to thank Ms. Dodi’s class for their hard work and effort in standing up and speaking out on an issue they care about.
When our teacher first told us that, on average, men are paid more than women in today’s workforce, even in some developed countries such as the United States and some countries in Europe, we could not believe it. We wondered, “what exactly does this mean?”
We did a lot of research and found out that an incredibly large number of women in the United States are paid just 79% of what men are paid, a gap of 21%. On average, women make $434,000 less than men over the course of their careers, which means that women work “for free” 59 days per year. At the current rate of progress on this issue, the gender pay gap will not close until 2056, which adds up to 2,419 days of free labor from women.
The gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. Traditionally, women have always been seen as the ones who were responsible for taking care of the house and children. Thus, the role of women has often been considered less important than the role of men in the workforce. Women have successfully fought to gain equal political and civil rights as men but, in a globalized society where they are expected to work and take care of the home, they are still paid less.
Recent studies have proven that women who attended the most well renowned universities, such as Harvard, are earning less than men. In fact, data shows that 10 years after graduation, women, on average, earn $110,000 per year while men’s average earnings are over $160,000. Women deserve to make the same income as men when they do the same job; they are equally qualified and are working just as hard as their male colleagues. We encourage everyone, both men and women, to stand up against this injustice and speak out for equal pay for women.
By: Marta Scappagnini and Camilla Borsotti