Women, Equal Pay, and Student Loans

US Department of EducationAccording to an April 26, 2012 US News and World Report article “Women May Have Tougher Time Paying Student Loan Debt Due to Gender Pay Gap” women are disadvantaged when it comes to student debt. This correlation is obvious, though disappointing, once you think about it. As the article documents, women pay for the same degree but are still paid less. “Women engineering grads earn a median of $62,000 while men earn $79,000.” The article won’t spell out why except for the tendency for women to work in lower paying fields. I don’t think we can count gaps in employment due to pregnancy, for various reasons: our law now considers pregnancy a disability rather than a life, men can now take paternity leave in many states and fields, women do have relative equal rights. I think that only leaves one overarching reason – discrimination. (For if men took over the female dominated fields, do you think they would still be lower paying?)

Why in a straight male dominated world, would men hate their women so much as to not ensure they have every opportunity available to them? My father voiced his desire for his daughters to get an education so they would not have to depend on a man and could enter into marriage as partners not as servants. Why would we not want our women paid with similar expectations? As a man it’s fundamental to our identity to protect women. So oppressing them does not make cultural sense.

A woman is sexually assaulted every 9 seconds in this country. That’s the statistic I heard in college from various sources. When half our populace is terrorized by straight men, what type of world do we have? I am not blind when I walk down a dark street. I can sense the woman’s fear, note the quickening of steps or see her pretend to casually go the other way. I try to walk on the inside close to the buildings so she feels there is an escape route. I know my grandmother was brave enough to leave her first husband when he hit her despite the stigma of divorce. (She was form Scotland and was too strong to put up with that behavior.) But despite being in the land of the free, no wonder it is taking so long to get equal pay; they’re just trying to stay alive.


About Daniel Roddick

Daniel has a B.A. in American History with minors in both Ethnic Studies and Sociology. He also has an M.Ed. in College Administration and Counseling. Daniel has worked in the financial aid industry for over a decade. He has presented all over the country on financial aid issues related to equity, inclusion, and access to education. He is also a writer of poetry, fiction, and this blog, all of which touch on identity.
This entry was posted in Gender & Sexuality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Women, Equal Pay, and Student Loans

  1. Dawn Jayaram says:

    Right on Daniel, the root of this is power and power of the sexes. Is equality in name only? Great article!

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