Income numbers show women still get no respect ... Let's go on strike!

Woman in green blouse throwing up her hands

The U.S. Census Bureau has released 2011 numbers on household income, poverty and the percentage of people without health insurance coverage, and at first glance the numbers aren't especially shocking.

Median income declined (again), the poverty rate stayed about the same and there was a slight drop in the number of people without health insurance

There is one aspect of the report, however, that is shocking: When it comes to the workplace and children, women continue to get a raw deal.

I say it's time we strike.

Here's why.

On average, a woman working full time made 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man working similar hours. If that woman is black, she made 62.3 cents for each dollar earned by a white man. If she is Hispanic, she made 54 cents for every dollar a white man earned.

That was her income — that is, if she worked at all.

Between 2010 and 2011, the number of men with full-time, year-round jobs increased by 1.7 million. The number of women with full-time, year-round jobs went up by just 500,000.

At least partly as a result, the poverty rate for men went down between 2010 and 2012, dropping by 400,000 people to 13.6%. The poverty rate for women didn't change, staying at 16.3%.

Neither did the number or percentage of families in poverty. Get this: In 2011, 6.2% of married-couple families, 16.1% of families with a male householder and 31.2% of families with a female householder lived in poverty.

In other words, families headed by a person called Mama were nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as families headed by a person called Daddy, and more than three times as likely to live in poverty as families headed by two childless people who call each other Honey.

Overall, 21.9% of children lived in poverty.

Invite nine children over to your kid's birthday party, and on average two members of the group live in poverty. Is it the girl bouncing on the trampoline? The boy angling for another slice of cake?

This is shocking.

Oddly, though, I don't feel shocked. I feel overwhelmingly weary — and I am too young to feel this tired.

The problem is twofold: As a group, women don’t make as much money as we should, and we're forced to spend our money and time on our children at disproportionate rates.

I am tired of many of the reasons experts put forth as explanations for why women don't make as much money as men do. I am tired of hearing that women don't get as many high-paying jobs because women aren't good at math and science.

Funny, they do just fine in both subjects in other countries.

For that matter, I'm weary of wondering if we compensate math and science more highly because they're more important than teaching and communications or because more men work in math and science than in teaching and communications, and men just automatically pay other men more than they pay women.

I'm tired of listening to people pay lip service to the idea that parenting and other jobs that involve children are important, without any willingness to put their money where their mouths are.

Raising children is expensive and time consuming, and mothers still raise children more often than fathers do. About 25% of divorced parents have joint custody of their children. Of the remainder, 15% of fathers have sole custody, while a whopping 60% of mothers have sole custody.

I'm weary of fathers who don't take responsibility for raising their children, and I'm tired of law enforcement's anemic efforts to collect court-ordered child support.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than half of impoverished children live with their mothers but not their fathers. Many of those women have given up on trying to collect child support, because the effort is so much greater than the reward.

Perhaps most of all, I am tired of the phrase "women and minorities." Women are a majority in this country. We should be making the decisions, not chafing under second-class economic conditions.

Sometimes I fantasize about a solution in which no American woman launches a rocket, washes a dish, discovers a species, changes a diaper, manages a construction site, wipes a nose, writes a book or gestates new life until all of us get 50% raises and every noncustodial parent is current on child support.

Or businesses could bill women for 77% of every charge. I'm flexible.

Feel free to join me. We meet at the bar.

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