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Equality in the workplace

Deborah Olmstead | Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear Notre Dame,

When I entered college, I naively believed that men and women were treated as equals in the work force. However, several USA Today articles have proved my former beliefs wrong. Apparently women are now up to earning, on average, 83 percent of what men earn. Although this number is increasing, the problem remains that women are devalued despite their equal contributions. In addition, another article describes that an overweight or obese woman is worth even less. Men, on the other hand, earn the same, regardless of weight. This point demonstrates that a woman’s appearance is a factor for her salary. Is that even a valid argument, that a person’s weight makes them worth less, even though they do the same work?

What I find most offensive is an article titled “Sexist Jabs Scar Female Hopefuls.” In this article, the extremely negative effects of calling female politicians “members of the oldest profession” are described. I was dumbfounded that adults immaturely resort to name-calling, and that this childish teasing impacts the woman’s success. These articles clarify the extent to which sexism is present in the work force in a shocking way.

I present this information to you in hopes of bringing this injustice to light. I also hope to motivate you to initiate change wherever you go. We all hope to pursue careers ourselves, and we may even make decisions about someone’s salary someday. Please serve as an advocate for equality. For anyone interested in the feminist effort at Notre Dame, please contact Caroline Green who is currently president of the Feminist Voice of Notre Dame at feminist@nd.edu. Thanks for reading,

Deborah Olmstead

senior

Walsh Hall

Sept. 27