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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Equal Pay for Equal Work
A great many Americans consider it acceptable to rob working women of millions of dollars. This is wrong and must be stopped immediately. Here is an action alert that you can follow to contact your representatives.


Tell Congress: Support equal pay for women.
Last year, the Senate failed to get the 60 votes necessary to force an up-or-down vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would mandate that women receive equal pay for equal work. Now, with a new session of Congress in place, the House is ready to take up the fight again. </p>

With President-elect Obama soon to take office, we now have a real chance to pass this legislation that could do so much for so many American women. There will be a battle in the Senate, and the best way to come out of the gate strong is for the bill to pass by an overwhelming majority in the House.

Lilly Ledbetter worked 19 years at Goodyear before she learned the men at her level were earning far more. Eventually she sued, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court where five male justices ruled her claim invalid because she filed it more than 180 days after the date when the discrimination first started.

Lilly Ledbetter and women across the country are paid less for doing the exact same jobs as men. The only difference between men and women in the workplace is women bring home less money to take care of their families - and in an economy as shaky as ours, the last thing we need is to make life even more difficult for 50% of the American workforce.

Women across America are counting on Congress - let Congress know that you're watching to make sure they come through. Sign this petition to tell your member of Congress to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This is a first and crucial step in this year's battle for equal pay - a battle that, for the first time, we might actually be able to win.

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Comments
thetathx1138 From: thetathx1138 Date: January 7th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem with this issue is that the statistics are flawed.

Not to say that people like Lily Ledbetter don't exist or that we couldn't tighten anti-discrimination laws, because we could and I support that. Basic payroll checks would actually do a lot. The problem is bad logic: the pay gap isn't entirely explained by sexism (it would be nice if it were, that's easy to solve) and nobody wants to hear that.

A good example is the issue of maternity leave. Part of the reason women's overall wages are lower is that we don't pay for maternity leave, and men don't get pregnant. Personally, I think full paid maternity leave makes a lot more sense, especially if the employee is going to come back; childbirth is expensive, and raising a family is exhausting. Of course, just getting FMLA was like pulling teeth back in the day, God only knows what making companies PAY would be like.

Another issue is the matter of hazard pay. Men are more likely to work jobs where they'll either be maimed or killed, and are paid accordingly. It's not that these jobs are necessarily closed to women, it's that with rare exceptions, women just don't apply for them in meaningful numbers. Is that a problem, necessarily, and if so, how do we solve it? I'm not sure on either count.
From: browngirl Date: January 7th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another issue is the matter of hazard pay. Men are more likely to work jobs where they'll either be maimed or killed, and are paid accordingly.

I dunno, isn't this comparing apples and oranges?

What I mean is: to use myself as an example, I am a receptionist. I get paid less than either construction workers or surgeons. That makes sense for various socioeconomic reasons.

However, if I were a construction worker, I should not be paid less than the male construction workers. If I were a surgeon I should not be paid less than the male surgeons. If I leave my current job, they hire a man to replace me, and I find he's getting paid 5K more than I was, I'll consider that unfair. (That last happened to my father, though it was racism, *and* to a friend of mine who's female. Different bigotries are related and all that.) Modulo maternity leave -- I agree with you on that caveat -- but right now it seems very unlikely I'll ever take maternity leave, so.
thetathx1138 From: thetathx1138 Date: January 7th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
What I mean is: to use myself as an example, I am a receptionist. I get paid less than either construction workers or surgeons. That makes sense for various socioeconomic reasons.

However, if I were a construction worker, I should not be paid less than the male construction workers.


Right. That's just common sense.

But the problem is, some people calculate the "pay gap" by lumping together what women make, regardless of position, with what men make, regardless of position.

I'm not saying I don't think there's any sort of pay gap, because there is. I'm just saying it's not JUST a matter of tightening anti-discrimination laws or analyzing payrolls for discrepancies or clear patterns of discrimination.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 7th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

I generalized my phrasing because I wasn't sure how precise the statistics were. Those other issues are real, but not on the table right now. What we have a chance to address is equal pay for equal work. Let's get that part fixed.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 7th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
How is it that this is still going on? I thought there was a set rate for everyone, enforced by law?
jfesmire From: jfesmire Date: January 7th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ysabet, you need to shorten that link! As it stands, it brings people right into your account.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 7th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Done!

Thanks for letting me know. The link is fixed now.
jfesmire From: jfesmire Date: January 7th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Done!

Glad to hear it! I signed the petition by the way. :-)
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