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Equal pay for Equal work

gender gap imageWomen in the workplace have been getting the short end of the straw for quite some time when it comes to equal pay versus their male counterparts.  And according to an article from ctmirror.org, http://ctmirror.org/2014/01/31/connecticut-women-victims-of-pay-gap/#graphic ,Connecticut has one of the widest gender wage gaps in the Northeast.  We’re one of the wealthiest states in the Union, but yet Vermont pays women higher wages than we do (85 percent vs. 78 percent of a man’s income).  The land of farms and cheese is more progressive than us; that’s pretty sad.

The article also states that one of the reasons for lower pay is that women are more likely to take time off of work to have children and care for their families.  This makes a broad assumption that every single women is going to have/want children.  I know quite a few women who have no desire to have children.  Should they be forced to earn less in the advancement of their careers because of this assumption?  And what about the single mothers who rely on a sole income to provide for their family. Should they be forced to work two jobs just to make ends meet because one job isn’t enough to keep a roof over their family’s head and food on the table?

The fact is that women hold more advanced degrees than men in the workplace.  So imagine how demoralizing it must be when they have invested all of that time, energy, and most importantly tuition to advance their education, and right out of the gate they enter the workplace and are faced with an immediate disadvantage. My fellow female co-workers work just as hard as I do on a daily basis.  These arcane wage policies have no place in a modern society. It’s the year 2015 Government!; time to wake up and smell the discrimination.

Kevin Hayes

 

 

“Atlas is a Sista”

Color Female Atlas

It has been said that “two wrongs don’t make a right” and in the inequality paradigm this statement can not be truer. Being female in a male dominated society is a incredible load to bare so, just add to this being a non-white female in a white male dominated society. This may feel sometimes like two wrongs that aren’t treated right.

The Word-Sword can only imagine the incredible  weight upon the shoulders of this hereto fore unrepresented group demographic. Being only relegated to existing on the peripheral of society yet, serving that self-Female Atlassame society as sometimes little more than chattel. Black,brown, yellow, and red women traditionally have served to quietly carry much of the weight of this country by feeding, mending, cleaning, and otherwise servicing (literally and figuratively) its “majority” populace. If you doubt this just imagine how early (and sometimes even modern) America would function without house-cleaners, maids, nannies, laundry workers, hairdressers, and  the other multitude of menial labor that “minority” women provided. This was even before we account for the social, industrial, and educational innovations that were birthed by this women.

Should there even be a question of whether there should be equality in compensation for services rendered by females in general and “minority” females in specific? While pondering that question one might wish to woman_in_chains_by_alexandramac-d37swqkconsider that the next time you may need quality medical, educational, or even technical support and expertise provided wouldn’t you expect the best? Well, what if you only get one- third to one- half of the best because that is all that is being paid to those “minority” female service providers as compared to their white counterparts both male and female? Yeah, it ought to be fair.

Black, brown, yellow, and red women are a vital part of the machine that drives this country (along with their white counterparts) so, shouldn’t they receive their equal slice of the American pie. Think about it
In-Chains.

Submitted by Braxton Gray

What can we do about Male/Female Income Inequality?

It is a well known fact that in the United States, women make less than men do on average. While the difference in pay is on a downward trend, the data shows that the change isn’t occurring fast enough. Many people would argue that the gender wage gap does not exist.  Here are some of their arguments, and why they are dead wrong.

  1. Women are paid less because they choose lower paying jobs.
    As a man, I can tell you that when I first heard this argument, it made a lot more sense to me. I figured the data must be skewed because of this reason. It made me feel less guilty, and let me ignore the issue at hand. That was before I was educated on the matter. Let me set the record straight: this claim is completely false. In a recent analysis, it was found that women fresh out of college were offered a starting salary significantly lower than their male counterparts with the same credentials. In any industry–including female dominated ones–men will start with a higher salary than women.
  2. Women lose out on pay raises when they get pregnant.
    Many people argue that women should get paid less if they are not going to be around. In the most extreme example, it was found that if a woman with an MBA takes 18 months off for maternity leave, this would account for about 41% decrease of earnings. Men, are often expected to stay working when having a child, and in many cases are more likely to get promotions because of this factor.
  3. Women are less ambitious so they don’t go after the “big promotions”.
    In general, women are just as hard working and ambitious as men. But, when compared with men who have the exact same experience, job, tenure, and every other quality, they are still 2.9% less likely to get that promotion. Norway is generally considered a more equal country in terms of gender equality, so it is likely to be worse in other countries. This could be, like stated previously, due to the fear that women will take time off for maternity leave, or just an implicit bias against women. Either way, it is not right.

So how can we solve these issues? Well, with a growing technological world, more industries can do all of their work remotely. This opens more opportunities for women to get the same work done from home, even on a maternity leave. Also, a greater social push for paid paternity leavesomething the United States is behind other countries in–would dramatically lower the gender pay gap. Lastly, an increase of women in higher position jobs would eliminate the implicit bias against them, and according to some studies could make businesses do better.

By Nicholas Evangelista

What does Implicit even mean? By Farrah Fontano

As part of class time we were told to take a test that was going to tell us if we were implicitly biased or not. So like all the other people in the class I took the test and my results came back as inconclusive. The test gave me a whole lot of anxiety for really no reason.

We were told to answer as quick as possible and make little to no mistakes. The test asked you to identify a whole bunch of cropped pictures of faces as either African American or European American. So they basically ask you to press a key to identify the cropped face into one of the two categories. If you do it correctly it moves you to the next, if you do it incorrectly it shows you a red X and then you have to correctly identify the face to move on. Then it changes your category to Good or Bad and shows you words like ‘Hurt, Peace, Agony, Joy’ etc. The categories then change to European American or Good and African American or Bad and shows you the same photos. The categories then switch places and ask you to identify again.

I don’t think that this test is a good identifier of race bias. I think that truthfully a lot of people are biased and that bias is a result of who they grew up around and how they were brought up. Do I think i’m biased? No. But does that have anything to do with the test? No.

The Railroad Tracks Do Divide Us.  

How can income and wealth inequality be targeted and solved on a larger scale when towns are focused on building  moats around their assets?

When individuals are focused on their property value rather than veterans, families with children, and individuals like us who are living on the street?

When multiple teachers, firefighters, and police officers cannot afford to live within certain town lines but continue to be the wheels that help support and move the town along?

 

Connecticut has 169 towns.

Only 10 % of these towns offer affordable housing.

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Before someone disagrees with affordable housing being built in their neighborhood, they should look at their fears. Most fears are associated with crime, lower property values, noise, and traffic. Yet, research conducted on the towns that have affordable housing found that crime, noise, and traffic did not increase. Schools were able to prosper due to the influx in students and if diversity increased within the school, it was beneficial to the students. Most importantly, property values maintained their value or increased a little.

In today’s society where 30 percent of someone’s paycheck goes toward housing, the place were one resides typically becomes their biggest investment. Unfortunately for some, there is such a thing as exclusionary zoning. Exclusionary zoning is zoning ordinances that keep out certain people from a given community. When there is not enough housing for people who want them, this then makes the price increase. This becomes a problem in expensive towns because as the town solely focuses on having certain groups of people move into it (typically elderly and white) then it can eliminate the town’s ability to be self-sufficient.

Olivia C. Granja

Solar Mama

In the documentary film  Rafea:Solar Mama features a woman named Rafea a Bedouin  in Jordan who seeks to take classes at Barefoot college in India to become proficient in solar energy to bring an energy source to her village. She is one of the few women in her village who can read and faces opposition from the cynical older women and the men. After much deliberation she learns her trade at Barefoot with nearly illiterate women from all over the world. After she comes home it isn’t smooth sailing when she brings a new source of energy. She is berated and scolded by the citizens who remind her not to be too ambitious. The issue in this case is poverty. Poverty leads to dilapidated conditions and and stunted intellectualism. This creates an an environment that doesn’t foster innovation and discourages women pursuing an interest. Women are not expected to desire life outside of their village or the core values from the time they were children. It contributes to the cycle of poverty and ignorance and destroys the possibility of salvation. It’s important to understand why this happens to not  possibly remedy the situation and prevent any overlap in our culture.

Game of Towns: Separate but not Equal

It seems certain John Q. white folks are afraid of the dreaded word…progress. As our guest lecturer, David Fink, Policy Director for the Partnership for Strong Communities, informed us, they have been for some time. Around the late 1970’s, families started to move out of the cities and into what they considered a safer alternative, the suburbs. They felt that the cities were becoming too over-crowded and dangerous. Now that’s all well and good right? People have the right to settle down and raise a family in what they feel is a safe community.

The problem is, once they settled in, they made sure to put an invisible moat up around their town to ensure that who they deemed as “outsiders” (blacks, hispanics, blue-collar folks) weren’t able to infringe upon their land.  They used tactics such as “Exclusionary Zoning”, the utilization of zoning ordinances to keep out certain people from a given community.  For example, say you have an acre of land that’s zoned for housing.  Instead of allowing for multiple housing units that can be rented or sold for affordable prices, these communities wanted developers to build fewer houses on the land to drive up the cost and make it unattainable for lower-income individuals to obtain housing in town.

What they fail to realize is how that tactic will inevitably turn around and bite them in the ass.  As these wealthy residents segregate their town by enforcing stringent zoning regulations, they keep certain profitable industries (corporations, housing unit developers) from wanting to settle in their town and pay them for their land.  Some families may be able to pass their wealth down to future generations to keep hold of their land, but the majority will force their children and grandchildren to look elsewhere because the housing prices within the town make them unattainable at their young age.  With no industry or tax revenue from residents, these towns will have get with the times if they want any chance for survival.

Kevin Hayes

Show me a hero

In Light of Mr. Finks visit to our class I’d like to discuss something I feel is relevant to the topic of inequality.  Let’s take a little trip to the past. In 1987 Federal Judge Leonard Sand issued a desegregation order in Yonkers New York. He commissioned a project that required 200 housing units to be built in the west side(white) of Yonkers. Initial outcry from the public and the city council was negative and pleaded to not move forward with the plan. The fear in their minds was the cost would bankrupt the city and decrease the property value of Yonkers. In the end after much Deliberation the city complied after being fined close to one million dollars. This was due to the council not coming to a decision on the plan and the belief that every reason raised against the project was racially motivated. Even the mayor of Yonkers Nick Wasicsko ran on a platform opposing desegregation flip flopped when in the middle of the massive court fines was told it was going to happen and no action he took was going to change this. The ongoing event was adapted into a book called,”Show me  A hero,” by New York Times writer Lisa Belkin. And it was eventually adapted into an HBO mini series by The Wire and Treme creator David Simon. One interesting scene in the first part of the 6 part event was conversation between a white representative of the local NAACP and an older black member of the chapter. The white member is a young go getter and sees this project as the begginging of something bold and positive for the community. When he asks the older member why he doesn’t share in his enthusiasm he tells him “we’ve been through this game before.” That statement conveys that he has seen systematic racism for years and though it isn’t quite as prevalent as it was during his heyday he is worn out and cynical about the issue. They black community is so bitter and resentful of white people that the prospect of a unified community is laughable. The only way to ensure over arching change is to mandate it, not through a collective understanding of what’s right and wrong but through an financial imposition.

 

Opting For Opportunity

Am I part of the problem? I would be lying to say I don’t hold some of those same stereotypes of those that want to keep certain people out of their neighborhoods. My only difference is I have lived in slums. I wasn’t fortunate to live in a house with a white picket fence growing up. So a lot of my beliefs come from what has been my reality.
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There are people that have poor living conditions that aren’t able to move to better places. These people often get judged for their conditions and not as a human being. Its almost as if poor living conditions are linked to bad people that run the property value down. Which isn’t true at all.

When thinking about how expensive housing plays a hand in reinforcing wealth inequality it’s frightening. David Fink said it best “Housing is opportunity.”

David Fink, policy director at Partnership for Strong Communities, made me realize how housing is linked to just about everything.

Poor neighborhoods more than likely have schools that lack in education.

Mr. Fink brought the point up how children from towns that are considered poverty towns sometimes get the opportunity to go to schools in suburban towns. In these suburban towns the education is great. However it doesn’t change the fact that when children go back to their poverty towns where the living conditions are less than great ultimately it still limits these children opportunity given.

So the real problem is creating opportunity for all. If all children had the same opportunity to receive a quality education, we could have equality. Growth and development starts with youth. So suitable living situations could create some type of balance.

But if towns are opposed to affordable housing in there neighborhoods it will only increase the wealth inequality. It’s time to join forces!

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By: Krystal Copeland

Could Tiny homes be the next Big thing?

With the decreasing value of homes comes a decreasing demand for large spaces. Homes have long been an investment for the American people to build their wealth. But the 2008 housing bubble crash quickly killed that dream for many people across the country. If people can’t afford large homes, and they can’t make money off of them, then why would you want one at all?

This is the question that people–including young people with outstanding student loans or elderly people who simply want to downsize their lives–are asking themselves. Tiny homes could be the answer to that question. The Tiny House movement has been picking up a lot of traction over the past decade–but could it also possibly be a solution for those in poverty?

The average cost of a tiny home can range anywhere from $15K to $80K, which may seem like a lot, but compare that to the almost $189K average cost of homes in the US. This could be a much more affordable alternative, though it does come with some downsides:

The biggest issues to note are probably the size of the home and where you can keep it. Many people have a very hard time adjusting to a tiny home, especially if a family is comprised of more than two people. It is important to figure out how much space you will need. It is estimated that a home must have 100 sq. ft per person, which will increase the price of these homes. It is also very difficult to find a place to keep these homes, because in general one needs to find a tiny home community to live in.

Since many of those in poverty have households of more than two people and live in urban environments with fairly strict zoning laws, what kind of solution could I possibly propose?

I think that we need to build more tiny home communities for people to live in. Large plots of land can be purchased and rented out for families to live in. Since tiny homes use less power and space, anyone who owns one could save a lot of money. And for those who can not afford to build a home, perhaps we could treat these costs the same way we do Affordable Housing, in which people under a certain income bracket will only have to pay 30% of the costs for a home that meets the needs of their family. It’s true that those standards for what a family needs would have to be defined, it could potentially be the solution that we have been looking for.

By Nicholas Evangelista