How come a woman reaches the age of sixty having accumulated one million dollars less than a man of the same age who has had the same job? As we approach National Women’s Equality Day on August 26th, I’m thinking of that startling, stubborn pay difference—our 77 cents to men’s dollar—and of what it takes to end it.
One of women’s greatest quests is an internal one: a search for self-knowledge, self-authority, self-expansion, self-esteem. While this focus on “self” may sound idle—or, as the culture has long claimed, “selfish”–to those who see political activism as solely external, it’s clear to me that this quest is what will determine our monetary future. Only if each of us understands our own psyche, as well as the collective psyche of women over time, will we have mojo for change. The selfless woman, heralded still as being “good”, will never feel good enough inside herself to make a big difference outside. In the words of the poet Adrienne Rich: