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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
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Bridging the Wage Gap: Don't Hesitate to Tell the Truth That Is in Us

April 17, 2012

Bridging the Wage Gap: Don't Hesitate to Tell the Truth That Is in Us

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls." -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, U.S. women's rights activist (1815 - 1902)

I look into my own life and realize that I am still faced with the economic injustice of being over worked and under paid as a women living with HIV This feeling is exacerbated by the slow painful journey to gain a higher position in an organization or any position for equal pay as a woman.

Women need be too valued just as much as our male counters partners, including receiving the same salaries as our male counter partners in the field for equal employment. As a women seeking equality and equal human rights,  it has been a dreadful, painful journey that I have firsthand experience in  as a women living  with HIV/AIDS. I have had to work harder and longer hours for a position that our society is more willing to offer men without a second thought of who may serve the organization or company's best interest.

Society doesn't often value assessing who is the best fit or person for a position. In my experience, men do not have to work as hard as I do in order to hold on to their position of employment. As the economic structure in the United States worsens for everyone, women are faced with a higher hurdle to jump over to make it in today's world.

When it comes to healthcare for women that are working or seeking to gain employment with quality healthcare, the options are still few and far between. Women are likely to be the caregivers of families; however, their healthcare needs are costly and invisible. We still fall short when it comes to upholding the right to quality, affordable, and holistic healthcare for women who are working and women seeking employment. This is a deterrent from entering the workforce especially when a woman and her family has health concerns. Women are often incentivized to get poor and stay sick to access public health benefits since the prospect of health care and making a livable wage is bleak.

Women are becoming more vulnerable to HIV in the U.S. Because of lower wages, they are not receiving the necessary means to survive and take of themselves and their families. We as a society must address the issues that surround women's financial needs as well as their healthcare cost.

If our society truly wants to begin to bring about an end to the growing numbers of women contracting HIV in United States and abroad, we must discontinue putting a bandaid on the issues that women face in today's society and do some sincere surgery.

Teresa Sullivan writes from Philadelphia, Pa.

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This article was provided by Positive Women's Network of the United States of America. Visit PWN-USA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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