Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rise and Fall of the Paycheck Fairness Act

Reader, I had not even heard of the Paycheck Fairness Act until a few days ago. Unfortunately, the bill which passed in the House of Representatives in January of 2009 was shot down by the Senate Wednesday.

Why are we still fretting about gender income disparity in 2010? This is a non-issue, right? Reader, brace yourself for this nugget of sadness:
The American Civil Liberties Union supports S.182, citing the fact that 2008 data from the United States Census Bureau showed that women earned 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man, while the corresponding ratios were 61 cents for African-American women and 52 cents for Hispanic women as compared to wages of white males.

Head, meet desk. How can it be that the gender income gap is still so large?

But, wait! We can explain these numbers, reader! It's because ladies make individual choices of flexible, family friendly work, which is naturally worth less because raising the next generation of workers is not important. Don't even get me started on how ridiculous this justification is, but it turns out the "individual choices" theory isn't even true:

From Newsweek:

Consider this survey from Catalyst, which found that female M.B.A.s who’ve made exactly the “right” life choices—no intention to have children, top-tier schools, high aspirations—still earn $4,600 less per year in their first jobs out of business school. Or U.S. Department of Education data, which separated pay by job sector to determine that whether women who go into teaching or business, social work or science—and before they’ve had the chance to cripple themselves by “life choices” (these are young, childless women we’re talking about)—they will still make roughly 20 percent less than the men they work with.

If you are interested in the history of pay disparity in the US and you've taken your blood pressure pill, you can read more here.

Reader, I've got lots of bones to pick with the President, but I couldn't be more aligned with his message on Wednesday:
I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote. This bill passed in the House almost two years ago; today, it had 58 votes to move forward, the support of the majority of Senate, and the support of the majority of Americans. As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, this bill would ensure that American women and their families aren’t bringing home smaller paychecks because of discrimination. It also helps businesses that pay equal wages as they struggle to compete against discriminatory competition. But a partisan minority of Senators blocked this commonsense law. Despite today’s vote, my Administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work.

Can I get an amen?


Batwing said...

Stupid fucking minority partisans. We know who you are. Unfortunately more of you are headed for Congress. And some of you are even women. Which makes me believe that The Stepford Wives was really real.

Professional Critic said...

Seriously! This made me so mad I could hardly see straight. And that this was barely covered in the news. Extra grrr.