Senate Fails To Pass Paycheck Fairness Act: The Gender Wage Gap

by Letters 4 the Damned

Dear Fellow Mankind,

And I do mean mankind, not just men. This Wednesday the senate fell short by six votes to pass the paycheck fairness act. This is the third time this legislation has been blocked. This bill was introduced to address the significant wage gap between men and women. The bill would have eliminated employer retaliation against employees for sharing salary information with one another and would have required The Department Of Labor to gather wage data by gender and race from all employers. This approach would directly address the culture of silence in the workplace by protecting employee rights while collecting wage data in order to maintain and ensure that every employer addresses the wage gap. Statistical analysis of census data shows that for every dollar a man earns a woman earns 77 cents. This wage gap is and has been a major equity issue for some time, yet arrogance prevails. I like other feminists would like to see equality across genders in every aspect possible. Many misunderstand feminism as a radical notion bent on getting revenge on men. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact feminism is defined quite simply as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. I, unlike many others, am proud to say I am a feminist and that I believe in equality between men and women whether it is voting rights or a wage gap. However, it is sad to say, many do not feel the same way. The entire Republican Party and one Independent representative voted no on this bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is quoted “At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers, in other words, it’s just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help.” It seems that the Republican Party is more concerned with lawsuits against employers than equality. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded, “Are they so repulsed by equal pay for hardworking women that they’ll obstruct equal pay for equal work? I’m at a loss as to why anyone would decline to debate this important issue.” (Bassett, 2014) President Obama pointed to the economic results of paying women less. Citing the increasing amount of female-headed households and the large amount of women that compose our workforce (50%) the President noted that when women are paid less we all suffer.  The President acknowledged the economic relationship between women’s wages and the economy as a whole by saying “so when they make less money, it means less money for gas, less money for groceries, less money for child care, less money for college tuition, less money is going into retirement savings.” (Bassett, 2014) When comparisons of men and women with equal education, experience, and the same job title were examined, they’re still was a seven to nine percent wage gap. I think we fail all too often to recognize the importance of females in our society. They raise us and teach us how to become better people, to be respectful of one another, to care for the disadvantaged, but most importantly they raise us to respect and honor women, a lesson we have seemingly forgotten. Abraham Lincoln once said “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” There is much truth to this. May Senate not forget it when we have to vote a fourth time to treat women equally.

paygap-infographicInfo graphic on Pay Gap. Data from bls.gov, archives.gov, eeoc.gov, iwpr.org, americanprogress.org, aauw.org, payscale.com, salary.com.

Sources:

Bassett, L. (2014, April 9).”Senate Republicans Block Paycheck Fairness Act For Third Time.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/09/paycheck-fairness-act_n_5118254.html

 

Lowery, W. (2014, April 9) “Senate falls six votes short of passing Paycheck Fairness Act.” The Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2014 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/04/09/senate-falls-six-votes-short-of-passing-paycheck-fairness-act/

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