Equal pay? Not today.

by Staff Writer Monday Sanderson

Actress Jennifer Lawrence recently wrote an essay about her experience with the wage gap in Hollywood.

Lena Dunham — known for creating, writing, directing, producing and acting in the HBO show “Girls” — published the essay in her Lenny Letter e-newsletter. The essay addressed Lawrence’s feelings about being a female in the industry and how society expected her to be less aggressive than her male co-stars when asking for more money.

While the average woman in most professional industries does not make millions of dollars like Lawrence — America’s highest-paid actress earning $52 million last year, — they do make less money than their male counterparts.

Sociology Professor Amber Paulk said stereotypes are the reason for the gap.

“It’s about inequality,” she said. “We see gender stereotypes coming into play. There’s the thought that she will one day have children. She might not be able to work nights and weekends, and she won’t be dependable when it comes to taking hours.”

Some people believe it is the different careers men and women go into that create the wage gap, she said.

“It is true men and women do typically go into different careers, but even in the exact same industry men make significantly more money than women,” she said.

In 2015, employers paid women in Alabama 73 cents for every dollar paid to men.

“It’s disgusting,” said sophomore Viktoria Piepke. “A woman shouldn’t get paid less because she’s a woman. It shouldn’t matter what sex you are. You should be paid

the same.”

Dean of the College of Business Gregory Carnes said Alabama’s wage gap is less than the national average.

“This doesn’t shock me because Alabama is a lower paying state across the board compared to many other states,” he said.

Freshman Nicholas Edwards said he thinks people who disagree with equal work and equal pay are living in the past.

“I think that it’s ridiculous how in 2015 a woman is making 73 cents on the dollar of what a man makes,” he said.

Women earn 90 percent of what men do before age 35, but it drops to 75-80 percent afterward, according to The American Association of University Women.

“If you hire a woman who is 35, she is more likely to have children compared to someone who is 25,” Paulk said. “It’s called the ‘mommy wage gap.’”

Senior Richard Allen Stubbs said he did not know the wage gap was still prevalent.

“Every workplace I’ve ever worked in, everyone was paid the same, regardless of gender or race,” he said.

Edwards said he thinks women have never been treated equally.

“I think that it’s a result of the residual sexist attitude that has been perpetuated throughout this country’s history,” he said. “From our inception until women gained the right to vote, there has always been a problem of treating women as lower class citizens.”

Piepke said she believes the wage gap affects the business and film industries the most.

“These are very male-dominated fields,” she said. “They think they can push women around because women haven’t been working in the industry for long.”

Carnes said studies show the wage as more prevalent in professional or male-dominated industries.

Edwards said he thinks the years of women being financially dependent on men are in the past.

“The reality of the matter is that the condition of being a single mother is much more prevalent or more visible than it has been in the past,” he said. “We need to allow the women of this nation to earn the amount of money that is necessary to financially support themselves on their own.”

Voting is an important first step, Edwards said.

“If we want to see any change happen, then we have to actually go out and vote,” he said. “It should no longer be acceptable for us to sit out of an election.”

Alabama does not currently have an equal pay law, according to the American Association of University Women website. Voters are encouraged to contact Congress and demand fair pay.