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Women Rule the World (and I'm Ok with that)

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In our home, we have adopted a trend that has swept America. Our home is our office. While we both have office space elsewhere, we choose to work from home often. The convenience of being able to open our laptops, participate in strategic phone conversations and conduct business from the comfort of home is in some way liberating.

All of this and we may still be in our pjs. (Don’t try to envision that!)

On this Saturday morning I can’t help but overhear my wife engaged in a phone conference with an organization we both belong to, but as president of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Black Public Relations Society, or “Beepers” as we call it, she deals with the national folks.


From a distance, I hear the voices of the participants. Mostly I hear women. The national president is a woman, as are most chapter presidents. I think I hear a brother chime in now and then and I think – Finally! Hooray! I’m actually cheering for the brother…for all of us. Us, being all the men who seem to have so little to do with the way the world turns these days.

Beyonce may have been right – “Women Rule the World.” Or at least it seems that way. And you know what, I’m fine with it. Men have appeared to have been in control of things for a long time and look where that has gotten us. This should have been a shared responsibility; kind of like shared custody in the case of parents fighting over who should have the kids and when.

Realistically, there shouldn’t have been a battle. Women are our equal and some our superior. I know it’s hard for some men to admit, but it’s true. Some women are better at some things than some men are. And those things aren’t just the things we like to assign to women. They are the tough tasks that men like to think that only we can do.

Well, I’m here to tell you, I haven’t seen too many things that a man can do that a woman can’t. Maybe women are smart enough not to try some of the things we do that define us as “macho”.

“Tote that barge, lift that bale…” - you idiot. I’m just fine with having women perform those duties.

Seriously, we do have a problem in today’s culture. While women rule the world, things are decidedly unfair; unequal. In America, the median income for women is roughly 77% of what men earn. In some foreign countries, particularly Third World countries, the gap is much worse.

Forget all the rhetoric, the question is, why and what are we going to do about it?

I have a daughter who is smart, driven and responsible. She manages a household, without a man, I must add, with two little ones. She works in a field that his decidedly male oriented, but she thrives and has made her mark. I am proud of her.

But this shouldn’t be about pride and puffed up chests; women can’t pay the grocery bill with platitudes and admiration.

In America we recognized April 9 as Equal Pay Day. But what were we really celebrating? President Kennedy’s hope expressed fifty years ago of women receiving pay equal to that of their male counterparts or co-workers has gone unrealized.

In 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which empowers women to file a claim of pay discrimination against an employer they believe has acted with prejudice toward them. Before Ledbetter, women were subject to a Supreme Court ruling that allowed women only 180 days after receiving their first paycheck to file a lawsuit alleging discrimination.  

Really folks, we should be past all of this. There should be no debate over whether women and men should receive equal pay for performing the same tasks.

Men must ask themselves, what are we afraid of?

If we look at our own lives and acknowledge the role that women have played in our lives both personally and professionally, we would be compelled to do the right thing.

As my ear picks up the buzz of the conversation my wife is engaged in with her colleagues, I am delighted to hear that the women on the call are still providing leadership and direction. Distinct to me is that there is no attempt to dominate the conversation, but to the contrary, the women are willing to share the space with this lone male voice and the other women.

Women, despite what has to be a certain fear of being considered the “b” word for expressing themselves, must insert themselves into these spaces cramped by male egos. And they must be assertive. We have caused that. Our second guessing and ranking of women has forced that upon us all. We have to live with it and now we have to live our way out of it.  

As I go about my work in my space in my home office, it feels great to know that my wife is handling her business just down the hall. I feel a sense of relief and I’m okay with the notion that women rule the world. I always have been.

Read about The Other Pay Gap in our LifeTrends section.

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Eric Von is a former radio talk show host and a publisher of Brain Brawn & Body (brainbrawnbody.com). You can contact Eric at eric.von@brainbrawnbody.com.

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Guest Wednesday, 20 September 2017