Give women the respect they deserve
Oct. 20, 2014
by Ivan Raconteur

We men apparently haven’t evolved as much as one might have hoped.

I was reminded of this recently while preparing a voters guide for the general election.

To set the scene, I should mention that it involves two people in similar jobs. The requests we made were also similar. Neither of us have met the subject.

On the surface, things were equal.

The responses, however, were very different.

The editor of another newspaper and I both sent questionnaires to a candidate for public office.

When the candidate replied to my request, he addressed me as Mr. Raconteur.

When he replied to the request from the other editor, who happens to be female, he addressed her as “doll.”

This struck me as unprofessional.

Actually, many more colorful adjectives came to mind, but they are not appropriate for a community newspaper.

Although I was not the subject of this derogatory remark, I was offended on behalf of the female editor, and ladies everywhere. I was also offended because clowns like that make all men look bad. I suppose it is guilt by association.

If the dinosaur who referred to a professional woman in professional correspondence as “doll” has a low opinion of females and doesn’t care about offending them, he is a pig.

If he didn’t realize this remark was offensive, he is an imbecile.

In either case, he would not get my vote, even if I lived in his jurisdiction.

One might expect the term “doll” in a 1950s gangster musical set in the 1930s, but I thought we were more enlightened today.

What’s it going to take for men and women to be treated equally?

In the example above, the female editor has earned her credentials, which are equal to or better than mine, and she has put in her time, and yet, she is referred to as “doll,” while I am referred to as Mr. Raconteur.

It doesn’t make sense.

The lack of respect some people have for women is further illustrated by the chronic pay discrepancy between men and women.

Earlier this year, the White House estimated full-time working women earn 77 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

A recent Pew Research Center study, which included full- and part-time workers, found women earn 84 percent of what men earn.

There have been improvements. According to Pew Research, the gap has been reduced from 36 cents in 1980 to 16 cents today.

It was also reported that young women are doing better, earning 93 percent of what men earn.

Regardless of which figures we use, it seems clear a gender pay gap still exists.

Not only is this wrong, it is also kind of silly.

As I think of the women I know, I try to imagine the scene if I were to tell them I deserve to be paid more than them for doing the same job because I am a man, and therefore smarter than they are. Oh, we would all have a good laugh then. That would be a real knee-slapper if I tried that line on them.

I’m pretty sure most women have figured out by now that guys are not smarter or more productive than they are.

The fact is, it takes most of my ability just to keep up with the women I know. I have no illusions about being superior to anyone.

It amazes me that many women work full-time jobs, and then go home and take care of a house and a family as if they were modern, supercharged versions of June Cleaver, the fictional fantasy suburban housewife of 1950s sitcom fame.

And after all that, far too often, they still don’t get the same respect a man might get for doing less than they do.

My mother was of a different generation. In addition to raising her own five children, she cared for other children, did catering, scrubbed floors, and cleaned houses to help support her family. She knew the meaning of a day’s work as well as anyone, but never earned what she was worth.

I want more than that for my sister, my nieces, and all the talented, hard-working ladies I know.

They shouldn’t have to work twice as hard to get half the respect and a fraction of the compensation.

Fellows, here is a warning for all the guys out there. If the women ever organize and realize how much we need them, and how shabbily they have been treated, we will all be in trouble. Misery and misfortune will rain down upon us.

I suggest we start treating the ladies better now, not just to prevent a coup, but because it’s the right thing to do.

That includes not putting chauvinists who treat women like second-class citizens into positions of authority.

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