Article by Sydney Gaeth | Photography by Neil Harman | Owl Staff

At the 2015 Oscars, Patricia Arquette said in her acceptance speech: “…It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez whooped and hollered from the crowd along with Arquette as her message echoed around the theatre. However, those who believe women aren’t suffering inequalities and question the merits of feminism don’t share their enthusiasm.

After all, didn’t women achieve equality decades ago? Gaining the right to vote in 1920 was one of the first steps towards gender equality. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was intended to eliminate wage discrimination between men and women; this means that both sexes must be paid the same salary for the same work.

“I can’t fathom not being able to achieve total independence because of my gender.”

However, in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was adopted by Congress to guarantee the equal treatment of men and women but was never ratified. So, 52 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, women are still experiencing economic disparity.

According to the American Association of University Women, females in 2009 were making 82% of male salaries. Six years later, the pay gap is worse — 77%, according to

In 2013, women of all races averaged, yearly, about $39,000 while men brought home about $50,000, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The missing $0.23 on the dollar really adds up.

If the woman makes an average of $11,000 less than the man, she would have to work about a decade longer to catch up.

The woman takes longer to pay off the college debt she accumulated to land the same job as the man who is paid more. Even those who choose not to go to college are affected by the wage gap. Gas, rent, electric, and food cost the same no matter who pays.

So, what can we do to fight this inequality? One solution is for women to negotiate for the pay they deserve. According to a study conducted by Emily Amanatullah, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Texas, women are less likely to negotiate higher pay for themselves but will negotiate as much as men when advocating for someone

Other studies confirm this disparity. According to a study done by Linda Babcock for her book Women Don’t Ask, “about 7% of women attempted to negotiate, while 57% of men did.”

I can’t fathom not being able to achieve total independence because of my gender.

Support feminism and wage equality so everyone can achieve independence and equal success. Feminism is not a dirty word — it’s the solution.

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