By Chelsea Feuchs, JWI Intern
Recently, I attended a rally in Washington DC to support equal pay for women. As an intern, I was excited to see democracy in action in this political city. My original excitement fizzled a bit when I realized the majority of the crowd was comprised of women much older than I am. The few advocates my age were all fellow interns, sent by their organizations, but nowhere did I see teenagers or college-aged people rallying completely of their own accord. This made me wonder: what is the state of feminist advocacy among Generation Y?
Equal pay for equal work does not strike a chord with my peers; in fact, it is viewed as a passé feminist issue, a phrase chanted by our foremothers, but not even tweeted by us. We grew up exceeding the boys in class, playing all the same sports (thank you Title IX), and expecting that previous generations had already fought for all the equality we would need.
Unfortunately, our perception does not match reality. Women still make 77 cents on average for every dollar a man makes.
But before you or I write off Generation Y as lazy or dispassionate, consider the tremendous amount of power at our fingertips. We have mastered social networking and can disseminate information at the speed of light. Our opinions and dollars drive the economy and our vote is coveted. All we need to do is channel that power.
We must realize that while the tactics of previous feminists may not work for us, the problems they faced still exist in a large part today. That is why, decades later, we are still fighting for equal pay. And you, whatever generation you are from, can show that we are not backing down in 2012 by supporting the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (EEORA). Ask your congressperson, in person, over the phone, or through email to support this legislation. Find your voice and make it heard, whatever way you can.