I have a confession to make. I am a lifelong bookworm who extracts great pleasure from opening a favorite book and delving into the comfortable world of a story that I know all too well.
Samantha Ellis is a fellow bookworm. Her newest book is entitled How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading too Much.
Ms. Ellis is the daughter of an Iraqi-Jewish family who for the last couple of generations has lived in England. While writing about her life and the experiences of the older members of her family, she intertwines essays about some of the most well known and loved female literary characters. From Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, to the Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Cathy Earnshaw, to Scarlett O’Hara and many others, Ellis tells her own life story while reminding us why we keep going back to these characters and their stories.
I loved this book. What hooked me immediately and kept me hooked was the integration of Ms. Ellis’s life story and the classic literary female characters. Our favorite literary character often feel like a friend or a family member, we know them as much as we know ourselves.
I highly recommend this book, it is so far, the best new book of 2015 for me.
In her acceptance speech for best supporting actress, for Boyhood, Patricia Arquette cited the fact that women, despite our incredible advancements, are still paid less than our male counterparts.
While I would not be surprised to hear that there still, even in 2015, are companies that have stone age beliefs about men’s and women’s paychecks, there are other reasons. Many women, especially if they have children, will choose a profession with a lower salary that allows them to be the mother they need to be for their children. It is also a fact that women (due to some might say cultural conditioning), are afraid of asking for a raise or step up to a higher position which will bring more authority and a bigger paycheck. A third factor might be that some high paying industries are slowly beginning to open the doors to women.
The fact is that this disparity of paychecks between men and women hurts all of us. While it does not hurt to have a two income household with two working adults, there are many homes in this country and around the world where one income from one working adult has to be stretched as far as it can go. What business owners sometimes forget is that a paycheck is not just a paycheck. When an employee feels respected financially and professionally, it is a win-win for both sides. The employee is likely to stay at the job and put in a greater effort because they feel that the company appreciates them. This in turn, reduces or prevents the company having the pay for the cost of turnover and training of a new employee.
Equal pay for equal work. It is a very simple concept. But for some businesses, for reasons that I do not understand, it is beyond them.