There have been countless articles written by many, many, many people about the recent Paycheck Fairness Act that was not passed over a week ago thanks largely in part to the majority GOP congress. Over this last week, I have gotten into a few debates (usually via Facebook) as to why this progressive bill still needed to be passed. Here are my answers to these arguments against equal pay for equal work:
Okay people, there are plenty of women who do not want babies. Hell, some of them don’t even have a choice in the matter. And as my professor once put it in our History of European Women class, “I just forgot to have children.” So, why are we penalizing ALL women for assumption that they will get pregnant and leave the workforce?
I didn’t choose my two X chromosomes much like a lot people in the world. I do not appreciate that my paycheck is being cut down because there is the possible threat of getting pregnant. I am choosing my words carefully here; I see getting pregnant as a risk for cutting me from the workforce. It is one the greatest threats in my young life right now. This is another reason why I argue for affordable access to birth control which help hardworking women like myself to keep their uteruses under control.
I do not know if I even want children in the future. That is my own personal decision and for the patriarchal workforce to tell me that I don’t deserve equal pay because theoretically this biological occurrence could happen is ludicrous. I don’t penalize men for possibly getting into a testosterone filled fight and breaking a bone which would leave them out commission for a few weeks or months and if they hurt themselves badly enough, possibly years depending on the damage.
Women are Weak.
I’ll admit I’m slight built. I hardly weighed 100 lbs when starting my freshman year of college, but if given the opportunity, I can do just as much work as a man in my field. Granted, my field consists of academia and secretarial work. I’ve always been cautious when choosing an occupation. I know what I can and cannot do. I know for a fact that it’s extremely difficult for me to carry a 50 lb box; that’s half my weight.
Women aren’t stupid. We know what jobs we can and cannot handle. If there’s a little shake up and a woman asks for a certain physical test to be modified to fit her body type, then more power to her. She’s speaking up not only for herself, but for future other women in that field and for other men who should not be held to such an high standard. She wants to be able to work based on her standards which will make it easier to complete her tasks and get to the end result faster than say judging it based on a man’s 250 lb body mass and strength.
Leaving Work for Parents, Children, a Sick Partner, etc.
Okay, so you want your business to thrive at it’s best? Either let the workers choose their hours or give them family paid leave. It makes it so much easier for them to schedule their work around their lives. It makes the workers happier which then gets the product out faster. As written in a recent NYTimes article, California is leading the way in this progressive policy of having a paid family leave program:
“Public policy can help remove some of the obstacles for working women. A recent study found that California’s paid family leave program, the first in the nation, more than doubled the use of maternity leave — to seven weeks — and may have increased mothers’ hours at work and incomes by up to 9 percent.”
This is the argument made by a lot of GOP politicians who have voted against the act. But in reality, the number of lawsuits has gone DOWN since this bill was introduced.
“In 2009, when Obama signed the legislation, there were 2,268 sex-based wage discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission either under the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was amended by the Ledbetter Act, or both. Because the law was retroactive, the EEOC reviewed pending cases at the time of the Supreme Court decision and reinstated claims for more than 1,100 people. In 2011, the number of complaints went down to 2,191.”
Boom. And actually what’s ironic is that according to Bloomberg, women were being paid .4 percent less than men and yet they were suing less. Maybe they couldn’t afford the extreme cost of a lawyer. Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel put it best:
“Suing an employer can be time-consuming and expensive, and women being discriminated against may lack the resources to sue. Further, many women who are discriminated against don’t even know it — most information employees would need in order to even begin to suspect that they were being paid less for equal work is inaccessible or private.”
So even if a woman wanted to sue her work place, she’s being held back due to covert discrimination and she can’t even gain access to see if she is being paid less. It’s a lose-lose situation.
The Wage Gap is a Myth.
Funny, I’ve heard this from men and women alike, but based on research done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women across the board are still being paid less. There are countless graphs, charts and numbers I could throw at you, but I’ll just settle for a few of them:
NYTimes Interactive Graph
[NYTimes Gender Wage Gap]
[NPR via U.S. Census Bureau]
Finally: what would all that extra cash get us?
Tons. Honestly, it would help boost our economy in the long run, but people are stubborn and stuck in their ways, so instead let’s just look at all of the things women could have had…. Damn.
[Center for American Progress]
Let’s Be Honest.
I have a vested interest in this topic. I am a recent graduate from college and I’m going out into the workforce. Do I want my pay to be equal? Yes. Will I fight this tooth and nail? Yes. I am settled in my situatedness just as much as the next person. My personal life has developed into something that is political and I will stand on my soapbox (or blog, Facebook, or Twitter account) and shout about it until my lungs give out.
Do you have a counter argument? Do you want to respond? Do you find yourself screaming at the computer but it’s not responding? Then I say send me a response. I encourage people to discuss, debate, and argue their points. Just don’t be discouraged if I dish it right back to you.