First Steps

The first thing I did was choose an article to read and reflect on. This specific article was about Vermont’s gender pay gap. I looked at the conflict, different perspectives, what unites, and what divides. I made sure I got some solid facts and quotes from the article, as well as making sure I cited the article so I can refer back to it, if necessary. I looked at another article which focused on Vermont’s workplace equity. For that article, I noted the outstanding information that I thought was critical to my research and also noted specific facts, as well as a quote. The quote stated, “Vermont can continue improving by bringing more women to the table”. I personally believe that a solid, impartial government has many different people from many different backgrounds, with many different experiences and perspectives. I also interviewed a few people, one being my mom and the other being my principal. The way I like to approach interviews is by being prepared and having pre-existing information, as well as thought out questions that can be easily extended into other questions to add depth. An example of that is the interview I had with my mom. I asked her is she had had any personal experience with gender discrimination while at work? To follow up I asked her if she felt her career choices were limited due to gender stereotypes.

Some of the most astounding and interesting information I have found during my research has to be what I have learned about how the pay gap affects Vermont. All together Vermont women lose one billion dollars each year to the wage gap! Another shocking piece of information is that female Vermonters are paid 86 cents less from any man’s dollar and their yearly salary is 6,718 dollars less than their male coworkers. Vermont ranks fifth in the amount of women in the state legislature with only 39.4% of its legislation female. Vermont also placed first in Bloomberg’s gender equality index of 2019 giving it the title of most equal state in terms of gender equity. Which is good and bad at the same time. It’s good to hear Vermont is doing well, but we still have a long way to go to reach equality so it’s kind of scary to think of what’s going on in other states. 

I think the biggest conflict or issue preventing the solving of gender equality in the workplace is blatant disregard for women, their safety, and their rights. Gender inequality in the workplace is a real problem. Whether it’s the gender pay gap, lack of recognition, sexual harassment or just basic human rights. It’s estimated that gender equality won’t be solved for about two hundred more years. We don’t have two hundred more years! We have young girls growing up in this world. Young girls who deserve the same rights and opportunities as young boys. I am growing up in this world. I deserve the same rights and opportunities as my male peers, but at this rate it’s not going to happen for me.  However, I can use my voice to ensure it happens for the next generations and those to follow.

The first person that I think is important is the person who was the inspiration for the Fair Pay Act of 2009 also known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Lilly was a worker at Goodyear Tires and Rubber Co. when she learned about the difference in pay between herself and her male coworkers. She demanded equal pay and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court where it was then excused because she did not report the discriminatory action 180 days after she became aware of it. Another person I would like to include is my personal role model and inspiration Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She fought all odds (gender and religion) to become a Harvard law student, and then a lawyer, and then a Supreme Court justice. She continued to fight for the vulnerable until the day she died. Whether it was gender or LGBTQ+ or race. She will continue to be an inspiration to everyone of what you can accomplish if you work for it. 

My main questions about this topic is just generally how it started. Who or what group of people decided that women are less than men and why did they feel that way? Another question I have on this topic is what is the reason people still choose to ignore this issue and why do they believe it is ignorable? 

I want to approach this short film by emphasising the work that has been done and people who have done it, but at the same time showing what still has to be done. I want to have some videos (interviews and stuff) and then a plain color screen and words with subtle music in the background because I think that’s a good way to get your point across. I think that would also be a cool way to start the film. The words would be in large font with just some hardcore facts. 

I am very excited to make a film about this topic because it’s something that is extremely passionate about and frankly I have to be. This issue is not going away anytime soon. My goal is to educate people, but at the same time what can I tell them that they haven’t already. The information is out there. I am just hoping that hearing from someone who could face this discrimination might give a necessary new perspective.

I am open to a different topic in the future, but right now I feel like this is the one I want to address because solving gender equality in Vermont workplaces will make us one step closer to worldwide equality amongst the genders. 

Madelyn Morris

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