HOLLINGSWORTH, CALIFORNIA — Jessica Saunders describes herself as a “hard working, independent woman” and politically she considers herself a “pragmatic progressive.” That’s why she told us recently in an interview that while she was initially disheartened to find out House Republicans had recently advanced a bill that would ban abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy, Ms. Saunders eventually “found a silver lining.”
“Hey, if they’re going to be controlling my vaginal and uterine based decisions, I guess the upside is I can concentrate on making almost as much as my male colleagues for doing the exact same work,” Saunders told us.
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Saunders works for a medium-sized corporation that builds microprocessors for smart phones. She says that despite her having the same computer design degrees and work experience as some of her male colleagues, she’s found out over the years that she doesn’t quite earn the same amount as them. A few years go, Jessica says she started talking to her male co-workers who would leave the firm, and asked them what they made.
“I stopped being shocked when I’d find out that someone who had been working there a shorter time than I had was making a little more,” Jessica says, “and by about the fifth or sixth guy who told me that he made six or eight or ten percent more a year than me even though we’d started together, or I had even trained them you just sort of laugh and roll your eyes. And then cry a little inside.”
Jessica told us she comforted herself and reduced the anxiety she felt over the Republican abortion ban by telling herself she had the ability to focus her time and energy on making up the difference in her pay.
“Sure, we have the same qualifications and I might even be better at my job than them,” Jessica said, “but if all I have to do is just work twenty percent more hours, I guess, sure, I can do that.”
In the end, Jessica says it’s a “matter of perspective” for her to not get so down about still being treated like a second class citizen in America in 2017. She says that with a “little change of perspective” she can go from “feeling disrespected to not-quite equal” if she tries hard enough.
“I mean, yeah, ideally I’d control my own vagina,” Saunders told us, “but why would I just assume that in a country based on liberty and freedom and personal choices that I’d be able to do that? I don’t know. Maybe it’s something wrong with my female brain or something. I’m sure Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee will be along to tell me exactly what my problem is soon, so there’s that.”