SHSU students, community gather for rights

The City of Huntsville held its first ever Women’s March on Saturday as men and women across the nation stood for female equality.

Women’s Marches took place all over the United States in honor of the anniversary of the first Women’s March in Washington DC last year following the Presidential Inauguration. The purpose of the marches was to voice support for women’s rights, safety and health.

Huntsville Democrats Club members Steve Covington and Andie Ho decided to organize the inaugural march in Huntsville. Their goal when creating the event was to mirror it after the DACA march that was held back in September of 2017.

“The Democrats Club believes it is important for residents and our politicians to know that locals feel strongly about this issue, too,” Ho said, “…not just people in Houston and Austin. Women’s rights are moving forward in some respects and backward in others. Our goal is to fight for equality for all genders.”

Senior Psychology major Keira Tademy was one of a handful of Sam Houston State University students who participated in the Women’s March. She stood on the corner of Sam Houston Avenue and 11 Street with a sign that read “The rise of women does not equal the fall of man.”

“I believe women’s rights are getting stronger,” Tademy said. “However, the lack of intersectionality is holding the movement back. I participated because I think it is important to express a powerful message as much as you can, especially when it affects everyone.”

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women makeup almost half of the workforce, yet make only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, which is a gender wage gap of 20 percent.

“If you’re thinking about gender differences in the labor market, and in pay or promotion opportunities, you should keep three things in mind,” Associate Professor of Labor Economics Darren Grant said. “One is the fact that women on average are going to have less work experience than men, and that is going to justify some difference in pay because we learn and we become more productive through that experience.”

Another thing that factors into the pay discrepancy is discrimination, according to Grant.

“Studies by economists tell us that there are differences in pay by race, gender, and ethnicity that cannot be accounted for by factors that would affect the productivity of the worker. There are also intangible factors that we can’t measure, but affect pay anyway.”

Those who stood at the Women’s Marches also stood in support of price equality.

Women are being charged more for household items than their male equivalents on a per ounce or per unit basis with the “Pink Tax.” Common products such as body wash, deodorant, shaving gel, women’s razors and pads and tampons are more expensive than the identical male versions that are on the shelf.

Boxed, a business looking to put an end to the unequal tax, found in a 2017 study that women pay approximately ten percent per ounce more for body wash, eight percent per ounce more for deodorant, five percent more per ounce for shaving gel, 108 percent more per unit for razors and are charged a luxury tax on pads and tampons. However, Viagra, an erectile dysfunction medicine, is not taxed in any state except Illinois because it is a prescription drug. Birth control, medicated condoms and yeast infection medication are also exempt because they are considered drugs.

“Retailers see women as their biggest target,” CEO of the Retail Council of New York State Ted Potrikus said. “Research and development, following trends, meeting trends, advertising products on television and in magazines are not cheap.” Companies are willing to spend more money advertising to women than they are toward men, contributing to the price discrepancies.”

Grant credited the difference in prices to brand loyalty.

On average, a haircut costs $28 nationwide for men, and $44 on average for women. According to Grant, women are charged more for a haircut because of their loyalty to specific hairdressers, therefore businesses can raise their prices and maximize profit.

“An example I use in classes is haircuts,” Grant said. “Women haircuts definitely cost more, but yet it probably takes more time to cut a woman’s hair than it does a man’s hair. If it costs more, then that certainly justifies some price difference. The other thing that might play a role is the degree to which women and men exhibit brand loyalty.”

“When I talk about haircuts, I also ask the students in my class to raise their hand if they are dedicated to their hairstylist,” Grant added. “So, if they [the business] raise their price by $5 you would stick with them. Most men don’t raise their hand.”

With growing support for the LGBTQ community, the meaning of feminism and the nation are evolving together. The women’s marches and feminism are more than just equal rights for women. Supporters believe in equal rights for everyone.

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