Even though President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women still get paid less than men. There has been progress, and some forward-thinking corporations are boldly facing the issue of equal pay and removing the pay gap between women and men. The truth is, however, that a difference does exist in the pay scale between the genders.
This pay difference and the reasons for it are complicated, and the causes are being examined. However, a valid point has been made in a study by a smartphone-based bank aimed at millennials, Starling Bank. This institution has posited an interesting theory that how society talks to men and women about money varies widely and affects not only finances but deeply held beliefs of individual worth.
The Starling Bank study, a linguistic investigation of 300 articles, found that 65 percent of articles about money in magazines for women label women as excessive spenders who waste money on frivolous items. They are told they need to discipline themselves with limitations and restrictions in order to control silly spending habits. Furthermore, many financial articles aimed at women urge them to make the most of their financial contributions, paltry though they may be.
- Earn tiny amounts
- Save just a little
- Secure financial support from parents or a spouse
This type of language creates a dualistic interpretation between the genders, with males being viewed as empowered money managers who never handle money wastefully or flippantly, while women are seen as dependents who fritter funds away on needless items.
Male Success Linguistics
In all fairness to men, they also get unbalanced money messages in male-focused articles. In pieces aimed at men, 70 percent stress that making money is the archetypal symbol for true masculinity. These articles tell men that their personal importance and worth are defined by monetary literacy and success by gain. Males also are bombarded by numerous fear suggestions and combat language.
- Codes of power, warfare, and competition
- The economic arena can be conquered
- Daring and boldness are required for success
These types of images for men compartmentalize them, just as do those that tell women they are powerless to handle money and need to depend upon others for safety. This bigoted language limits both genders.
Multi-Level Linguistic Imbalance
This linguistic prejudice that barrages women and men demonstrates that the idea of equal pay for equal work is a complicated issue that goes beyond labor rights, although it certainly deals with workplace equality. On a deeper level, women are devalued, limited, and subtly taught that they are somehow not good enough to handle money, which, ultimately, equals power in Western society.
Likewise, males are taught that carrying debt or disliking risky financial schemes are signs of weakness that make them less masculine. Until general language stops propagating these stereotypes, the issue of gender and money will continue to instill ideas of unworthiness in women and a desperate need to gain and wield power in males.
President John F. Kennedy recognized and made the first move to address this issue in 1963 to ensure women received equal pay for their work. Now society is recognizing that this matter is woven even deeper into the fabric of Western society. Balancing the language used to discuss finances for both sexes will begin changing the long-held and imbalanced attitudes surrounding gender and money.