By Anna Daniels
Republicans have been having a hard time stringing words together when it comes to explaining why they don’t support pay equity for women. It’s a straightforward concept–equal pay for equal work. Yet it takes women until April 8 to catch up with men’s earnings from the previous year. The median earnings for a woman working a full time job is about 77% of a man’s. That figure drops for women of color and it hasn’t budged in more than a decade.
President Obama’s first action upon assuming office in 2009 was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Wage Act. This act restored protection against wage discrimination that was stripped away by the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. The act extended the period of time for employees to file claims for wages lost because of discrimination. Yet wage discrimination on the basis of gender continues to exist.
While Democrats have continued to push for paycheck fairness, which includes more pay transparency, Republicans have drawn upon their extensive arsenal of incoherence and sheer stupid to push back. Cari Christman, head of the Republican PAC RedState Women, recently opined that Republicans oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because “women want real-world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric.” For clarification, she added that women are busy, women are extremely busy and women have busy lives.
Of course women are busy! They have to work longer hours to make the same amount as men. Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has parsed the Republican position more succinctly. Women “don’t want” equal pay laws. Blackburn voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2009. Beth Cubriel, an ally of Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, explained that the gap exists because women are lousy at negotiating pay.
The Republican position on pay equity would be incomplete without some mansplaining. There is no wage gap and legislative action to close the gap would discriminate against men are the persuasive explanations that these guys are actually willing to say in public.
President Obama will issue two consecutive executive orders today intended to address the issue of unequal pay for equal work. And he will lobby the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. It remains to be seen whether the Republicans have figured out a winning strategy in attracting women voters.
Here’s a tip for busy women with busy lives who would really like a raise:
How to Get a Raise in 47 Seconds….