This article is so right on it's scary. I am definitely one of those girls that went to college to get a BA like it was trade school, because I knew I had to have one to get a job that would pay me enough to live. And yes, I'm sure I have taken out more student loans with less pay out.
My boyfriend and I often discuss our relative positions in the working world. He decided not to go to college because he aspires to be a musician. Meanwhile he is making a yearly salary more than I ever have with no education, being 7 years younger, and with less employment experience as a manager of valet parking at an upscale hotel. I often argue with him that if I had decided to not go to college and try to work a job on the side to fund my artistic aspirations (poetry) that there is no way I would've been able to support myself (I'm still having trouble anyway). There is just no blue-collar sorts of jobs that you can get without any education that will pay women well.
He always responds that there is one female on his work team who was offered the manager position before he arrived but turned it down because she didn't want the increased responsibility. He fails to notice that, one, she is the ONLY female and, two, that she is raising a young child on her own, for which she often has to leave early to pick up from school, which is probably why she chose not to take on the promotion. Not to mention the fact that she would be supervising all males who would probably challenge her authority daily.
Despite all this she could've still taken the promotion, but I doubt she would've been paid as well as he is. My point is that the roadblocks that women have to hurdle are twice as hard without an education (even if they find sustainable employment without a degree) and this is definitely why there is a majority of women over men in college. Unfortunately, when you get out you find out it still doesn't gurantee that you will be paid a fair wage.
Thank you, Katha Pollitt, for this article. As you can tell I enjoyed it immensely and you were one of my favorite authors to read in my women's studies classes at UCLA.
Feb 27 2007 - 8:48pm