Big surprise! Utah is the worst state in the nation for equal pay. Yep, women in UT make 55 cents to every 1 dollar that a man makes. Congratulations, you must be so proud.
I have no doubt that Mormonism plays a very big part in that. So half the country wants to elect a man, Romney, who buys into the “women are inferior” belief of that religion. Just brilliant.
Beyond the moral implications of such a practice, there are very pragmatic concerns as well. It certainly doesn’t help our struggling economy. It doesn’t help all those single parent families, the majority of which are headed by women. Effin brilliant.
Someone questioned my assertion that “I have no doubt that Mormonism plays a very big part” in wage disparity but I couldn’t reply adequately on Facebook. So my reply is below:
Culture determines the difference in what rates women and men get paid (for the same job with the same qualifications). The culture in Utah is dominated by the Mormon faith.
Utah is the most religiously homogeneous state in the Union. It is home to the Salt Lake Temple, and approximately 63% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS (Mormons) which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life–source and source and source
Mormons are the only religious group in the U.S. today that forms a numerical majority of any one state’s population….Although LDS women are just as educated as other American women, they are more likely to be stay-at-home moms and less likely to work outside the home. – Source
Mormons believe that a woman, unless she is married, obedient and having his children is not worthy of God’s favor–women are treated as “less than”. Here are just some of the ways that women are believed to be less than men:
1. Mormon men, even though they are married to one woman now, believe they’re going to have multiple wives in the afterlife, on a planet that they get to rule and others will worship them–the wives and other lesser Mormons will worship the man as a God and he will deserve such treatment. No woman will inherit a planet. At best she can be one of his many wives and his supplicant. No woman can get to be on these new planets if she wasn’t first married to a Mormon man in good standing with the Church on Earth–she can’t get to their version of Paradise EXCEPT through her husband.
2. Women aren’t privy to all the same information in the temple as are men. For example, both men and women get secret names in the Temple. The woman is never entrusted with her husband’s secret name, although he is given both secret names.
3. Women are told that their utmost duty as a new wife is to “build an eternal home” and to do so they need to please their husband, cook and clean, take care of her husband, to keep herself looking nice for him, to please him in any way and to have as many children as possible. Mormon men are taught to expect their wives to have as many children as the woman’s body can handle.
4. Women are considered the descendants of the “evil” Eve. If they fail to submit to their husband’s will they are considered to be sinning.
5. Only men can be priests and priests are the only ones allowed to pray to God for answers and women are expected to defer to the husband in all important decisions. Women are not allowed to hold any major authority positions within the Church except for the Relief Society (the charitable and educational auxiliary arm of the church).
6. Men avoid being alone with a woman who is not their wife (to avoid temptation, she’s tainted remember?)
7. Never been married women are treated as children and begin being pressured to get married in their teens
8. When a baby is presented at the Temple to be given a name and blessed the child’s own mother is not allowed to hold him/her, again she is tainted and not a priest
9. “Women are to obey the Lord (obedience is the first law of heaven and earth),obey the Priesthood leadership, obey their husbands as they are the Priesthood holders, and obey male leadership in the home (which, technically can be a 12 year old Deacon- on up), etc.” – Source
10. Women “are expected to be chaste which means she is non-sexual unless married in their only accepted fashion. The general teaching is that she would give up her life to protect her vagina from unwanted intrusion. A typical male Priesthood leader (father, son, etc) is often heard to say: rather she come home in a pine box than be raped. ” – same source as previous paragraph
11. Women are commanded to confess their sins to men (husband, priests, bishops, etc) but never the other way around
I could keep going but you’re probably getting the picture…..
Now this isn’t really all that different than every other major religion in the world. The major difference is that the other religions have been around for thousands of years and have evolved to a certain degree. They have enough variation within them to allow women to play a much greater role than they did in the early days of those religions, although women are still not treated equal to men in any religion except for perhaps Wicca or Buddhism. One common example from these older religions is that women are not allowed to give the sacrament in the Catholic church–therefore no “female” is allowed to perform priestly duties. The same can be said of Mormonism.
However, in the U.S. the separation of church and state has led to a certain dichotomy in our society between the secular and religious…we seem to be able to practice our religions while ignoring those beliefs that would hold women back in secular society. So a woman who isn’t allowed to serve communion can still be a CEO. This is not the case in many other countries of the world (like Saudi Arabia where the mix of church and state keeps women from being able to drive, go anywhere unescorted by a male relative, to work, not allowed to show any part of their body except their eyes, etc, etc.) So in the U.S. the separation of Church and State has been crucial in allowing women to escape the total control of religion over every aspect of their lives.
However, Mormonism is a very young religion in comparison. It has not evolved much beyond it’s initial set of rules. Also, it has, through much of it’s history, been exempt from U.S. laws including separation of church and state. Not necessarily on paper but in practice. The best example of this is Colorado City, AZ Even today, there are parts of the U.S. where the Mormon religion is so intertwined with the local government that they have total control over that area economically, politically, and culturally. It is only in the last decade or so that the states and Federal government have intervened to wrest control of those locales away from religious totalitarian control. Even in those areas where Mormons are not completely in control they still receive special treatment of some pretty blatant violations of law (kind of similar to the way in which the Amish are treated). For instance, in Amish culture it is unusual for girls to attend school and none of their kids attend beyond the 8th grade. Everyone else has to follow the law that says school attendance is compulsory until age 16-17. But law enforcement doesn’t push this kind of thing on the Amish. Likewise, the Mormon community, particularly in the small town/rural communities, receive similar breaks from the government. In Utah Valley there are many polygamous families in that area. They build houses as big as apartment buildings in order to keep the wives and their children under the same roof as the father. Everyone knows this goes on and no one does anything about it.
So as a new religion in a country where they are not expected to tow the line in regards to the law (like the other religions have to do), the Mormon faith absolutely affects the culture of Utah and some towns in other states. That cultural influence includes a set of beliefs and practices that treat women as less than, discourage women from working outside of the home and essentially discriminate against women in many different ways. In such cultures, women will NEVER make as much money as a man (even if the job is exactly the same and their qualifications are the same) unless there is a Federal law to correct the disparity AND that law is adequately enforced.
For all of the above reasons, I stand by my assertion earlier that I have no doubt that Mormonism is responsible for Utah having the worst male to female pay ratio in the country.