Equal Pay For Equal Work Regardless of Gender?

In order to prohibit gender-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same firm or establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility, The Equal Pay Act was passed, and signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963.  Fifty years later, there are some who claim on a national average, women still make in a range from about seventy-seven cents to eighty-one cents (depending on who’s stats you’re seeing) for each dollar earned by men doing the same jobs.

Evidently there has been enough concern about this that The Paycheck Fairness Act was proposed.  It passed through the House in 2008 and 2009, but has been blocked by the Senate. One of the principle intents of this new bill was to protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their co-workers.  In other words, whenever a woman found out that one of her male co-workers doing the same job she was doing, but for a higher salary, and confronted management about it, both she and whoever provided her with that information could be (and have been) fired.

Some legislators saw this practice of keeping the pay discrepancies secret as an inequity, and saw it as an open practice to avoid compliance with federal law.  Other measures were to stiffen certain penalties for non-compliance, and to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act by providing solutions for women who are not being paid equal wages for their work.

Here’s a true story:

In the 1990’s a woman who worked for a large American corporation was being promoted to a position previously held by a man.  The title of the position was market analyst.  She accepted it.  In addition to her new job, she was for a time expected to carry on with some of her previous clerical and administrative duties.  Eventually, an administrative assistant was hired to take over some of that.  All the time, she thought the company would appreciate her being a team player for “going above and beyond”, which is the way her boss described her to others.  Well, they didn’t.

She soon found out that although she was given the job she was not promoted to the same pay grade it formerly held.  She did the work, but never was placed at the pay grade enjoyed by the company’s other market analysts.  She knew if she complained formally about the obvious pay and work load discrepancies, they would find a way to terminate her.  By policy, they could not openly discuss their compensation with each other.

Sometime later, she was informed that the position of market analyst was being eliminated.  But that turned out to be not true, except for her region.  All the other market analysts kept their pay, but she was reduced to an hourly position.  Still, she was to perform the work of a market analyst, but never even close to the same pay a man received for the identical work.

In the same company, a man with administrative duties was reassigned to field logistics operations.  When asking who would do his old job, he was told:

“Oh, we’ll hire a woman.  We can get a girl to do this for a fraction of what we were paying you.  Besides, girls are good at clerical duties, and are usually better at muti-tasking than men, anyway.”

They openly invited other employees who might know of a “woman” that needed an office job to feel free to refer them.  The interviews were conducted.  Only women were interviewed although it is a fact that some men had submitted resumes.  A woman was hired at a significantly lower pay grade than her predecessor.  And of course, she was instructed, in fact warned to not divulge her compensation to anyone else in the company.

Oh, there are lots of stories, and you probably know some yourself.  Today, there are still real people out there who know The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is widely skirted, and even joked about by people who shouldn’t.  But the bill to fix the problem did not pass.

Kelly Ayotte, Senator from New Hampshire, said:

“The reason that I voted against that specific bill (equal pay for women) is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced and can be enforced and I didn’t feel like adding that layer was going to help us better get at the equal pay issue.”

What? What layer? Passing a bill that calls for enforcing and providing the teeth to do it, so that a woman should be paid the same as a man if she is hired to do the same work is not “…going to help us better get at the equal pay issue”?!?  It won’t?  Hmmmm.  Is she crazy?  Is it her attempt to prove women say and do things on an intellectual level below her male counterparts so we can continue to discriminate against them?

Or, is it that she’s brilliant since she takes the same position as her male compadres who stand so firmly against women’s rights to be protected under the law equally with men?  If she is not crazy or openly prejudiced against women for some reason, why do you think she said such a thing?  In fact, why did every single one of the senators from the republican party vote against equal pay for women?  Did somebody tell them to?  I didn’t.  Did you tell them to take that bigoted stand?

So, just exactly why do you think a bill calling for equal pay for women in the workplace failed to pass?  Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the bill opened the door to more lawsuits against employers.  So is that it?  It’s inconvenient to businesses that want to discriminate against women just because they are not male, and might get sued by these same said women over it?  Really?  Is that also your opinion?

Mitch is very proud of his firm and uncompromising stand on this issue.  A person may be steadfast and uncompromising, often at the risk of being called pig-headed by their opposition (an obvious slander to pigs).  People often flatter themselves unduly when making such a claim of holding staunchly for what they see to be high and mighty principles.  For you see, no matter how much they insist they’re right, or even believe they’re right, doesn’t mean they are.

Former GOP candidate for president, Mitt Romney, claimed to support pay equity for women according to his spokesperson, Amanda Henneberg.  Sarah Palin said she was for equal rights for women, but ironically, even as early as September, 2008, she went on record opposing legislation for equal pay for women because lawyers might make money suing companies that don’t comply.  At that time, it was also McCain’s position.

I cannot find where either she or McCain has ever made any public statement or vote to reverse that.  Why?  I mean really, why?!?  Is it about the money?  Who’s money?  Is it about not wanting to offend those with the big bucks who make campaign contributions?  Political practices of recent years might warrant at least some suspicion of it.  Or is it some kind of belief that women actually deserve less pay (nationally, from about 19 to 23% less than what is earned by men for the same job)?

Think about this: even if your prejudice is that women make inferior decisions than men, or do less or inferior work, why in the world would you assign them to tasks equal to what is expected from a man?  If it were true that females are inferior, and a man made the decision to assign a woman to a job with equal expectations as he would have for a man in that position, wouldn’t that be evidence that he, the man, was making an inferior, if not outright stupid decision?  In other words, if the task can be done equally well regardless of the worker’s sexual plumbing, what is the justification for a rationale that the man should be entitled under the law to be paid a higher rate?  And furthermore, it’s already against the intent of federal law (again, an opinion normally entitled to judges, but since I’m being judgmental here, I make no apology for it).

I’m sure you’ve heard some say it is a matter of religious instruction, and that in almost all the ancient mythologies and civilized cultures since the beginning of recorded history as well as The Torah, The Quran,  The Holy Bible, and The Book of Mormon, women generally held station slightly higher than cattle, and in some cases, lower.  Is that what you believe?  I believe, and therefore you certainly have the right to question it, one of the saddest delusions man has ever conceived of is that oppression of other people is authorized and approved of by the Deity.  And by no means do I limit my feeling about oppression to just sexual discrimination.

Please make a note that in the United States Senate, men and women get equal pay for equal positions.  Does that mean the job of a Senator is not as important as most other jobs?  Well, they certainly draw an above average income for such unimportant work that doesn’t pay a man at a higher rate than a woman.  Doesn’t that seem to beg the question just a little bit?

Obviously, the issue has no bipartisan support.  It’s split right down the isle, and the treatment of it has not been rational; it has been emotional.  There seems to have been a shortage of honest dialogue wanting to find a fair solution to the problem, but all we see is the rhetoric.  And the outcome has not been flattering to that rhetorical legislative body.  In fact, it makes them look as though their minds are stuck in the Dark Ages, and for many of them, that might be true.  So, let’s take the argument out of the idiotic divisiveness between democrats and republicans if you can do that (and most of you will not be able to do it for even a minute), and simply answer this:

If the decision was entirely up to you, what do you think would be the right thing to do?

And why do you think your decision would be the right thing to do?  Oh, you don’t have to tell me, but maybe you should tell your senators.  And while you’re talking to ’em, tell ’em this is not a basketball game, it’s about human rights and the livelihoods of families just in case any of them still might give a damn about any of that.

Another thing to consider is, if Senator Kelly Ayotte is correct that we already have enough laws and don’t need to pass any more bills, wouldn’t it make sense for all honest members of the senate and congress to resign and go home? Well, not Kelly.  She’s a woman.  After all, might she therefore have to take a cut in pay?

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Old Middie on July 4, 2013 at 12:11 am

    So, let’s see here… You have escaped your 1963 cave and discovered nothing’s changed much. Well, something has changed a little in that the hot social topic today is about gay, lesbian, in fact all marriages, not about gender equality. What’s the rationale in bringing up this old song again, now?

    I suspect, and only just so, that if women want to be treated equally, then they must learn to hate sufficiently to wage war. Such a war would have to do away with the Vatican and its cousin kind as a beginning, likely. So, how is it that the gay and lesbian community is suddenly making headway? Perhaps the women can take some notes?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Dostadawg on July 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Position unchanged. Old Middie is correct: Women should take some notes. Band together and refuse to work for less money than men, for the same work. There is strength in numbers and that results in change. Don’t like the current system? Start your own business and run it the way you want to.

    Reply

  3. Posted by little d on July 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    VanTwain, You have constructed what I call a unescapable argument. There is no competent defense available. For the progress of all Peoples such a Truth as you have revealed here should be presented publicly in the presence of those whose actions its brings light. However, in my opinion, it is to the continuation of fraudulently defending or suing legislation that such an unescapable presentation may not be publicly presented.

    I’ve grown in the observation that our political representation can fraudulently defend or sue legislation with equal enthusiasm, They decoy each other to present the illusion that they may be divided on such a topic as this, when they both serve the same monied interest. The political arena affords the perfect script for such a con and a trusting populace allows for little talent to look legitimate in its accomplishment.

    It is with great pleasure that I find in writing your efforts Van, thanks again.

    little d

    Reply

  4. Great post, Van. I think that OldMiddie, whoever that is, missed the point, though. Yes, the law was passed in 1963, but the fact that the problem still exists doesn’t mean that the problem is not worth fighting over. The fact that the discrimination still exists, and is championed by elected officials, should enrage everyone.

    As for larger issues: it’s time that the American people stopped letting tiny minorities – those with lots of money – bully elected officials into positions EVERYONE knows are wrong. On this Independence Day, remember that the USA is a democracy.

    Really.

    Keep up the great writing, Van.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Mickey Foster on July 18, 2013 at 10:07 am

    conservatives vs liberals can perhaps be summed up with the equation> conservatives (human oppression) vs liberals (human rights)…I think you know where I am…..

    Reply

    • Posted by thevanbrown on July 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Whatever the perception is of who is being bullied, be it individual women, or individual businesses, independent or corporate, the champions will argue for their cause. The illusion that it is conservative vs. liberal ignores the bullying that takes place regardless. Generally speaking, to oppose change or promote change should logically depend on what the proposed change is, wouldn’t it? Consider participating in the following conversation. Imagine you are one of the people in it:

      A: “Well, what do you think? Should we, or shouldn’t we?”
      B: “Should we or shouldn’t we…what?”
      A: “Yes or no. Which side are you on?”
      B: “Side?
      A: “Are you fer it, or agin it?”
      B: “For or against…what?
      A: “The proposed change. The resolution is for a change. Should we do it, or keep things they way they are?”
      B: “I don’t suppose I can really say one way or the other until I’ve heard what the change is to be. What exactly is the resolution? What is being proposed? Additionally, any really intelligent choice would have to be made only AFTER hearing the arguments from both sides, wouldn’t it? I mean, what’s at risk if we do, and what’s at risk if we don’t?”

      Yet every day, without defining the question, people declare themselves to be conservative, or liberal–each considering the other to use bullying tactics to get their way.

      And by dividing thusly, you will from time to time see conservatives voting AGAINST conservation, and liberals voting FOR the status quo. It happens frequently when “conservatives” take a position to champion the cause of the poor little very picked upon, and otherwise defenseless petroleum industry that is being bullied by people who want clean water, and not have their natural habitat destroyed. And when you see “conservatives” arguing that conservation is not only unnecessary but wrong, you should have some clue that the process has become IDIOTIC.

      In debate, the liberal position is to propose what they believe to be a “progressive change”. The conservative position is to defend the “status quo”. The positive team debates for it; the negative team debates against it, and IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE QUESTION IS. But collegiate debate is a game. It is a skill contest with the use of rhetoric. While it is interesting, it’s not real. In governance, it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. The bullies have taken life and death situations and made games of them. The winners get control of the benefits of wealth, and the losers get ridiculed and tormented. Open and honest conversations between them, open dialogue intending to resolve conflict and controversy, give way to mere rhetoric between bullies. And the PHOBICS do NOT see their champions as bullies, but the DOMINATORS make SURE their phobics see the opposition’s champions as bullies. And it is easy to do, because fear has been very “hardwired” into hominids pretty much from the beginning (I can back up that statement, but it might take hours, depending on how scientifically savvy, and willing to listen, the audience might be).

      People are often more or less open-minded to all kinds of questions. Since survival has always been dependent on adaptability, those who are never open to change become extinct. That is far more than just an opinion. But to claim to be conservative or liberal in some absolute sense one way or the other all the time, is an absurdity. It is an unsustainable theory. For example, a person who would generally be a fiscal conservative, never wanting to take impulsive risk with budgets and limited financial assets, may be made FEARFUL of some proposal that threatens to limit their decisions about their social behavior–especially so when that behavior is, at least to them, considered a “right”–something they are entitled to. And that right could be the ability to own and carry a firearm, or the protection of the privacy of their own physical body or bedroom.

      And the SAME is true when the social liberal or conservative feels their concept of morality is being attacked. When made FEARFUL that welfare recipients might use some of the financial aide to buy illegal substance, some have pushed hard for rather LIBERAL spending far beyond the point of diminishing return, in fact to create a huge deficit rather than conserve tax payer dollars. The social “conservative” a position taken to uphold the idea that only their approved methods of behavior be allowed, voted OVERWHELMINGLY in support of a fiscally liberal position to spend money in large amounts, even though from a purely fiscal position, this “progressive change” would produce a lot of fiscal waste, and generate NO fiscal benefit. An example of that is Florida, in order to claim a savings of between $40,000 and $100,000, made the tax payers assume a 178 MILLION dollar liability. The companies selling the drug testing kits and lab services are laughing all the way to the bank. And the politicians who took money from the lobbyists from BOTH sides of the argument, will continue rhetorically try to keep their phobic constituency focused on whatever apparent evil they can manage to point out about their opposition.

      The divisions among the voting public is determined by what FEAR people have allowed themselves to be made afraid of, and which DOMINATOR will lead them away from it to safety. Voters on both sides see the opposition as bullies. And they are correct. The intent of the people may not be to bully at all, but to be protected from bullying. So, they will hope their bully wins the game of “king-on-the mountain” each time, and lead them away from “danger”. But the DOMINATORS never really lead anyone away from danger. In fact, they are counter-survival and cooperation, allowing for adverse selection. The independently dominant, which has learned to adapt and cooperate, and is the PREDOMINATE example of all living things EXCEPT humans, NEVER rises to power. Power is ALWAYS held by groups of dominators who promote competition trumps everything including adaptability and cooperation. Of course their conclusion is not only disorderly, it is on a collision course with extinction for the simple reason that the system they uphold is unsustainable and corrupt, placing mankind in irrational social systems, not just here, but pretty much all over the planet.

      But in the matter of equal pay for equal work, regardless of the gender of the worker, I say it is fair, it is reasonable, and it is just. Those who wish to argue against it, and want to claim that it is conservative to take that position, may be correct if they believe socially women should be kept “in their place”. And they may be correct to make such a claim if they believe it will cost more money if businesses are not allowed to discriminate by paying lower wages and salaries to females. Further, those who feel business will be “bullied” if faced with lawsuits for non-compliance will also lean toward what they see as a “conservative” position. And those who claim equality under the law to be the only right thing to do, are asking those who apposed it in the past to keep an open mind, and hear their argument. But to have an open mind is a liberal position, isn’t it? It is, after all by definition: “liberal” minded.

      But none of this is to say it is wrong to take a position of conservation, or to question suggestions for change and inspect those suggestions to see if they contain some impulsive risk that could make matters worse for everybody. But in the case of holding females to a lower pay grade standard is “conservative” if it is to defend the standing theory within their camp of the mythological inferiority of women.

      Regardless of what happens with this question, the political process will continue to allow bullies (dominators) to rise to the top, and the true believers among the masses (the phobics), will always continue to support them. The independently dominants, which make up the majority of survivors in the natural world of all living things EXCEPT HUMANS, will be influential only at local levels for the simple reason of what they “dominate” over. In the face of predation, oppression, radical environmental change, they stand in the face of adversity, cooperate to adapt, and survive. They do NOT dominate over the phobics, because that would require manipulating their fearfulness. Doing so, for a truly independently dominant, would be unethical It lacks integrity, and is motivated by greed and avarice. None of these are the overpowering traits of the independently dominants in any species other than man. Even wolves don’t kill more than they intend to eat, or feed to their babies. Homo Sapien-Sapien is the ONLY species on earth where a dominator class, made up of individuals who would not survive as independent dominants, rules by sustaining a phobic class that would also naturally die off, otherwise.

      Reply

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