For Women’s Equality Day, I wanted to share this artwork, “Ideal Power,” that I created in 2017. This piece focuses on the need to address gender inequality regarding both wages and basic respect. I believe power should come from the quality and merit of one’s work only, rather than being influenced by any other variable, including gender. Equality is important on every front, but I chose to focus on discrimination and double-standards toward women, because I think that the prejudice is so insidious and pervasive that most people only recognize the most inflammatory instances of sexism, if they recognize it at all. As a husband and father of two girls, I want to see women treated with equal dignity and respect, with access to the same opportunities and wages as men.
Though gender inequality is a global problem, studies show that in the U.S., women make about 80 cents to the dollar for the same jobs that men do, according to a report by Pew Research. I’m ashamed when I read a statistic that illuminates how far we have to go as a nation to achieve the standards of morality, fairness, and equality that we claim to aspire to. I’d like to see legislation that fines and penalizes companies that consistently and measurably pay women less related to men. Let’s face it, capitalism and corporations get away with whatever they are allowed to get away with. We can punish the most egregious corporate offenders with our spending choices only if we fully understand the scale of their gender bias. I’d like to see both government investigation and regulation, as well as consumer awareness groups, that alert the public to the companies who disrespect women’s rights to equal pay. – Shepard
From the archives:
Ideal Power, 2017
Mixed Media on Canvas
88 x 58 inches