by R.B. Cooper | July 6, 2014 4:39 am
Not long after finishing college, I started an entry-level customer service position in a small company with about 15 employees. Within less than a year, I was promoted to supervisor. Within three years I was Operations Manager and the company had grown to about thirty employees. My work ethic is second to none; I am not happy unless I am going Mach 4 with my hair on fire. My employers always recognize this quality and I am inevitably put into positions of authority. This employer was no different. However, at some point I became aware of a significant income discrepancy between myself and a man that reported to me. He was at least ten years my senior, but nowhere near my aptitude. I met with the president of the small company and highlighted the discrepancy, then asked for a raise. He smiled and told me “but he’s older, and he is a man. Men make more money. Sorry.” I was furious.
I contemplated legal action, but decided instead to do something really amazing. I decided to leave the company. Within less than a month, I found a job at a Fortune 100 company that paid me almost double what I was making. I put in my two-week notice, and watched my boss squirm in his seat while I repeatedly declined his request for me to stay. Talk about powerful. This was a turning point in my career, and my belief in the real meaning of Feminism.
The Feminist movement is about affecting change in society. But change starts with us—not our government, not our employers, not our friends or family. We must take control of our own life to affect any kind of lasting change. I realized that I don’t need help from anyone to get what I want. Especially the government. The last thing I want is a promotion or raise from a grumbling employer whose hand is forced. I want to earn it. And I can.
It is for this reason that I am shocked that those calling themselves Feminists are so enraged by the Supreme Court ruling, and why you should take a step back and ask yourself whenever there is a policy in place to “help” women—does the policy make you feel more independent, more powerful? Or does it make you dependent on someone else?
Here are four reasons why a real Feminist should be happy with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to allow one employer to say “No” to funding something it finds morally objectionable.
1. Equality: Our fight for equality in the workplace has gone on for decades, and we are making ground. Why on earth would we want to underscore our femininity by asking for something not given to men? I am relieved the Supreme Court did not force employers to ‘give’ us women something the men are not also entitled to, something that we are in fact quite capable of purchasing ourselves. Please, people. If I want the morning after pill, I will buy it myself. It’s $9 at Walmart. I am a Woman. I am powerful. I can do it by myself.
2. Privacy: We complain about government intrusion into our bedrooms when we ask for equality for same-sex couples and for a woman’s right to choose. Are we not asking the opposite when we ask the government to mandate our contraception be paid for? I cannot understand why an independent, self-sufficient woman would demand that her employer pay for something that is so private. I am a Woman. I am Powerful. Stay out of my bedroom. Really.
3. Freedom: Privately held companies are owned by people. Real people. The government should not force people to pay for something, especially if that something goes against their core beliefs. It’s a slippery slope, and we should be darn sure of the potential consequences before we decide to take the plunge. In other words, if the government can force a company to provide something it is against, like the morning after pill, what’s to stop a future government from forcing companies to pay for something like college tuition for employees’ children? What if the child chooses a theology degree in Christian studies and the employer is not a Christian? Does this now fall into something the government shouldn’t mandate? I prefer to live in a country that allows a company the freedom to choose what benefits it offers its employees, and I have the freedom to choose whether or not I want to work for that company. I am a Woman. I am Powerful. Don’t steal my freedom by forcing me to do something against my will.
4. Common Sense: Why is everyone so upset that Hobby Lobby employees will only get 16 kinds of contraception instead of all 20? Especially when the only four that are not funded are not generally classified as common birth control options (no, the ‘morning after’ pill should not be used as contraception. Let’s get real.) And while we are on the topic, when did healthcare benefits become a ‘right’ for each employee? It was not long ago that healthcare benefits were used as recruitment tools to entice top talent to work for the company. Now it has become a mandate. When did common sense get replaced with entitlement? I am a Woman. I am Powerful. I can think for myself so don’t tell me what I should be ‘for’ or ‘against’.
If you consider yourself a feminist, I urge you to always look at the big picture. Stop taking cues from the political masses, the ones standing in protest lines holding signs they probably haven’t even read. Think about whether the solution proposed makes you feel more powerful, or if it makes you dependent on someone other than yourself.
You are a woman. You are powerful. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise.
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