What is a Girl Worth?

I recently had a 13 year old neighbor girl babysit for me. Two weekends in a row. The first night, I didn’t have enough cash on hand & didn’t give her all that I planned to. The next weekend I drove her home & handed her the money (which included what I felt I owed her). I had to insist she take it. She kept shaking her head insisting that she didn’t mind not getting paid, she was obviously embarrassed at taking the money. I told her that I just paid a 14 year old neighbor to cut my grass, because I needed the job done, & that she provided a service to me that was valuable too.

Where did girls get the idea that their time isn’t valuable?

When Jasmine was a teenager she babysat for many families. Often she’d have to ask several times to be paid (and I’ve often forgotten to make it a priority to get money to pay my sitters too). A few times she was paid well below what she should have been paid.

When my son did jobs for people, they almost always paid him on the spot. Not only that, but he was better paid than babysitters were/are. Again, I’m guilty of that as well.

I paid my sitter $12 for 3 hours. I paid the boy who cut my grass $20, & filled his lawnmower with gas, and it took him not quite an hour. Is cutting the grass a harder job? Is it a more valuable service?

I’m guilty of being part of it myself, but it has always bothered me that boys’ neighborhood jobs are more valued than the girls’.


(and yes, I’m aware that I’m assigning gender roles here, but it reflects my experiences)