Nel's New Day

April 9, 2018

Equal Pay Day – Help from the 9th Circuit

Filed under: Women's issues — trp2011 @ 3:03 PM
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If women got the same wages that men do for equal jobs, then Equal Pay Day would be December 31 each year. But we don’t, and women on the average have to work over three months longer to equal the men’s salaries each year because women make $.80 for each $1.00 that men make. This year, Equal Pay Day is April 10, and women can celebrate a great court win today.

Almost one year ago, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled that employers can pay women less than men for the same work by using differences in workers’ previous salaries. The decision overturned a lower-court ruling and was appealed. Deborah Rhode of the Stanford Law School pointed out that this decision “perpetuate[s] the discrimination” because it “allow[s] prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones.”

Today, the eleven members of the 9th Circuit Court unanimously ruled that employers cannot use previous salaries to justify higher payment for men than for women. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the majority opinion before he died last month at the age of 87. The case concerned a starting salary for Aileen Rizo, a math consultant with the Fresno County Office of Education, who was paid less than all her male colleagues. The decision applies to the nine states of the 9th Circuit Court.

Although April 10 is Equal Pay Day for all women, dates vary for different ethnic groups when compared to white non-Hispanic men:

  • Asian-American Women: February 22, 2018 ($.87)
  • White Women: April 17, 2018 ($.79)
  • Black Women: August 7, 2018 ($.63)
  • Native American Women: September 27, 2018 ($.57)
  • Latinas: November 1, 2018 ($.54)

People who refuse to believe in the existence of the gender pay gap spread these myths:

  1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work. Women are consistently told that they cannot do as well in male-dominated fields such as finance and technology. As career fields have a higher percentage of female entering them, the salaries drop because male-centric jobs are more prestigious. For example, biology and design were higher paying when more males were employed in these fields, whereas computing paid less in early years because early programmers were women. The trend then reversed for all these fields—computing became more lucrative when men dominated, and biology and design paid less with more women.
  2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do. Again, this is not a choice because the U.S. lacks federally mandated family leave, and child care is prohibitively expensive. With salaries higher for men, households with one worker keep the woman at home. Gender biases also allow men to leave home to work, leaving women to care for the children.
  3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families. Female-dominated workplaces—care work, primary education, and clerical—have far less flextime than other workplace.
  4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own. Women continue to select college majors with lower-paying jobs. At the current rate, the closure of the gender pay gap may not occur for another 200 years.

Take-home pay is not the only problem from the gender pay gap. The discrimination leads to trickle-down financial disadvantages causing income inequality and financial insecurity:

  1. The retirement savings gap: Women save about half ($45,614) as much as men ($90,189), and only 52 percent of women have retirement savings’ accounts such as a 401K, compared to 71 percent of men.
  2. The student debt gap: Although women have less student debt, they are less equipped to deal with this debt; 28 percent of women see their loans a “not at all manageable” compared to less than half this percentage for men at 13 percent.
  3. The financial literacy gap: Men are taught far more about managing their finance, and parents think that sons have a better understanding of their money’s value than their daughters.
  4. The work time gap: Women are twice as likely as men to have part-time jobs which fail to offer such benefits as health care, retirement investment, and transit support. Women’s expenditures are more than those for men without these advantages. Again, women are left at home to care for the children because of the myth that they have more skill in this area than men.
  5. The homeownership gap: Homes owned by men are worth more than those owned by women, and male-owned homes appreciate more. Times reported that “homes owned by single men on average are valued 10 percent higher than those of single women, and that the value of their homes have appreciated by 16 percent more than those of their female counterparts.” Women, especially those of color, are also far more likely to be targeted by predatory lenders. “In 2005, women were 30 to 46 percent more likely to receive subprime mortgage loans than men. Black women were a staggering 256 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than white men,” according to Salon.

The gender pay gap doesn’t need to exist. A new Iceland law requires employers to pay women the same as men. All public and private employers with 25 or more employees must obtain government certification of equal pay policies or face fines. The legislation was supported by Iceland’s center-right ruling party and the opposition.  The 2017 Global Gender Pay Report shows that Iceland has the most gender equality of any country in term of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The United States ranks 49th in gender equality, ahead of Kazakhstan but behind Uganda. The United States ranks 96th in political empowerment of women, behind Nepal, Algeria and Pakistan.

A major difference between the United States and Iceland is also the female participation in Iceland’s federal government. Almost 50 percent of Iceland’s parliament is female. Women make up just 19 percent of the U.S. Congress.

Iceland is smart in this legislation: equal pay can help a country’s economy. Equal pay for women can increase the GDP, adding women in senior management roles and corporate boards can boost companies return on assets, and raising women’s wage can cut the poverty rate for both working women and their children in half if women earn as much as men. The U.S. economy could add $512.6 billion in wage and salary income, equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2016 GDP.  Lifting women out of poverty would vastly decrease the need for costs in the nation’s the safety net.

Statistics surrounding U.S. pay will be unknown in the future, however, after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) eliminated the requirement for large companies to report wages by race and gender. In Iceland, all pay data will be made public for transparency.

Conservatives claim that the 1963 Equal Pay Act covers all problems with the gender gap in salaries. Yet among the caveat for “equal” pay is “a differential based on any other factor other than sex.” This one was used when the three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court ruled last year that past salaries could be used to pay women less.

A consistent argument against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the United States is that men make more money because they work harder and their jobs are “riskier.” That came from GOP state Rep. Will Infantine in New Hampshire. He added, “[Men] don’t mind working nights and weekends. They don’t mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements.” As if that wasn’t enough, he said that “men are more motivated by money than women are.” That was in 2014. The state house gave “preliminary approval to the Paycheck Equity Act,” and the law took effect in 2015. Infantine is no longer in the state legislature.

Women can also be destructive to decreasing the gender pay gap:

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), now a candidate for Senate, said that women “don’t want” equal pay laws.
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said it is “condescending” towards women to work on policies intended to prevent wage discrimination.
  • Phyllis Schlafly, before her death, wanted the pay gap to be larger so that women could find a “suitable mate.”
  • Kirsten Kukowski, RNC Press Secretary in 2014, could think of any policies her party could support to improve pay equity.
  • Cari Christman, head of Texas PAC RedState Women, said that women were too “busy” to find a solution to the gender pay gap.
  • Beth Cubriel, the 2014 executive director of the Texas GOP, said that women needed to become “better negotiators” if they want equal pay.
  • Fox network’s Martha MacCallum declared, “Many women get paid exactly what they’re worth.”

GOP men are equally dismissive. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) wanted to know what gender pay fairness would do for men, and Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, called the debate “nonsense.”

Many people on the far right are even questioning women’s right to vote.

  • White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said that women voting in U.S. elections isn’t “a great thing.”
  • Casey Fisher, a Davis County (UT) GOP precinct chairman, called voting rights for a “grave mistake.”
  • Davis County GOP chairwoman Teena Horlacher, Fisher’s colleague, defended him by saying that Fisher was following the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.
  • Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore co-authored a textbook that was critical of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Ann Coulter also opposes women’s right to vote, but her net worth was almost $9 million in 2016.

Imagine the gender pay gap if women couldn’t even vote. Happy Equal Pay Day!

April 4, 2017

(Un)Equal Pay Day 2017 – Still Little Progress

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day of the year showing how many more days into this year that women must work to make what men earned during the previous year. The day is earlier this year than last, meaning that a woman now makes $0.80 for every dollar a man makes. That statistic is much better than 54 years ago before the passage of the so-called “Equal Pay Act” when women made $0.59, but at this rate, women won’t have equal pay until 2059. Women haven’t made made little progress in the 21st century.

Only four of 120 occupations pay women slightly more than men: counselors, food preparers and servers, sewing machine operators, and teacher assistants. In 107 of these occupations, the wage gap is at least five percent and one as disparate as 44.4 percent. The gap is also much larger for black women than white women except for office administrators or work in natural resource, construction, and maintenance. Median weekly earnings for black women are only 62.5 percent of white men, putting their Equal Pay Day later in the year, and Hispanic women earn only 57.2 percent as much.

The claim that male-dominated fields just pay more isn’t a justification: women still earn less than men in these jobs such as truck drivers, janitors, and software developers. In other careers, female managers make 77 percent of male managers’ salaries and female chief executives less than 78 percent. In female-dominated jobs, men still make more than women. Female nurses, teachers, and secretaries all make less than the rare men who take those positions. Four years ago, the new chair of Washington state’s GOP chair made $20,000 less than her male predecessor.

Women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older. Women age 75 to 79 are three times more likely. Women are more likely to report that their primary source of income is Social Security—50 percent to 38 percent for men. Women are 14 percent less likely to receive a pension. Over a 40-year the pay gap between men and women is an average of $430,480 and much more for women of color, as much as $1 million. Women over 65 years old were born before desegregation, seriously affecting education and employment opportunities. One-third of women in the United States live either in or on the edge of poverty. Gender pay equality would annually boost the income of full-time working women by $6,250 on average and cut the poverty rate in half for the six million who live below the poverty line. It would also raise the GDP by 2.9 percent, $450 billion.

Myths about the disparity blame women taking off work to care for family members, frequently because of no paid family leave and affordable childcare, but this excuse isn’t a valid reason. Women are frequently offered less pay for the same work or forced into devalued female-dominated occupations. In addition, women get less pay increase than men for their higher education. In 40 percent of households, women are the primary earners.

Conservatives maintain, without proof, that tax cuts will cause economic growth. Yet increased earnings for women will have that result because most of these workers are lower-income and middle-income who will use their increases to purchase items and thus boost demand and the economy. Success of three proposed bills would accomplish these goals: the Paycheck Fairness Act to hold businesses accountable; the Healthy Families Act to allow paid short-term sick days; and the FAMILY Act to permit longer-term paid time for health reasons.

People who claim that existing laws give equal pay to men and women should talk to 17-year-old Jenson Walcott. Hired the same day as her friend Jake Reed at the Pizza Studio in Legends Outlet Mall (Kansas City KS), they were both fired when she asked the manager why Reed got paid more per hour than she did. The manager claimed that he took that action because they were not supposed to talk about their salaries, but no one had told them about this policy. The two teenagers ended up talking about their experience at last summer’s national Democratic convention. After the convention, the pizza chain apologized and said that the manager had been fired. But the two young people weren’t offered their jobs back.

While the GOP Congress blocks bills to provide gender equality, Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law taking effect on July 1, 2018, that requires employers in the private sector to pay men and women the same for comparable work that “requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions.” Another part of this “first-in-the-country” law bans employers from asking about salary histories, a method to discover how little the applicant might be paid and thus continue pay discrimination. Employers can no longer stop employees from talking about their pay with others, a practice that promotes pay discrimination. Seven states have passed laws for disclosure but not equality although some are considering bills.

Workers’ comp, a program that kicks in after work-related injuries, also favors men because women get smaller disability payments. For example, a California settlement paid a woman less from nerve damage and carpal tunnel syndrome because of the claim that 20 percent of her disability occurred because it is common in women of her age. Another reduction came from the claim that the woman was breast-feeding although the symptoms of carpal tunnel came before she was even pregnant. Removal of a prostate after work-related cancer gives a man an impairment rating of 16 to 20 percent no matter what his age; a mastectomy for a woman from work-induced breast cancer is allowed a five-percent impairment rating for women of reproductive age and none at all for older women. Work-related “psychiatric injuries” such as depression have been reduced by as much as 80 percent from of “perimenopausal factors” and “gynecological issues.” Male characteristics are never cited as pre-existing conditions or risk factors—reasons for reducing disability benefits.

Women make up over half the population, but DDT’s government appointments not requiring Senate confirmation were only 27 percent of his almost 400 appointments during his first four weeks. A chart shows that the largest gender disparities were in departments considered “masculine” such as Commerce and Defense. Only one woman was in the eight new NASA hires. Only the departments of Health and Human Services, State, and Personnel Management showed more female than male appointments.

Asked during his campaign on Morning Joe if he supported equal pay for men and women, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said:

“When you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very—because people do different jobs. It’s very hard to say what is the same job. It’s a very, very tricky question. And I talked about competition with other places and other parts of the world, Mika. This is one of the things we have to look at very strongly.”

DDT’s new “adviser,” his daughter Ivanka Kushner, received media praise for tweeting that “women deserve equal pay for equal work.” This is the same person who almost refused to give eight weeks’ maternity leave to her former chief marketing officer, who has the shoes she sells made in a cramped Chinese factory and other clothing in Bangladesh and Indonesia, and who had her Chinese-made scarves recalled over burn risk Her father rolled back the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order mandating companies asking for government contracts comply with some basic standards of pay equity and safety and defunded access to reproductive care for poor women in the world.

New York has the smallest wage gap between men and women; Wyoming has the largest. How’s the gender pay inequality in your state? Check here. More information about the wage gender gap here.  And here.

April 11, 2016

April 12: Equal Pay Day

Pay women less for doing the same job? There must be good reasons. Charge men more for cupcakes at a bake sale? Outrageous! That was the response to a fund-raiser at the University of Queensland of Australia for the women’s charity Share the Dignity to the point of death threats. The hosting organizations, Women’s Collective and women’s department of the student union, announced:

“Each baked good will only cost you the proportion of $1.00 that you earn comparative to men (or, if you identify as a man, all baked goods [will] cost you $1.00!).”

Facebook posts included missing the “good ole days” when you could “beat a woman with a stick.” Reading the vile statements, some students responded, “I didn’t believe feminism was still relevant until I started reading all the comments.”

Australian women make 17.3 percent less than their male peers for the same work; in the U.S. women are paid about 22 percent less than men. Each year, Equal Pay Day, this year April 12, commemorates the gender gap to demonstrate how much longer women must work in the year to make as much as men do in the former year. The event is always on a Tuesday because that day represents how far into the next work week that women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.

The GOP and Fox network deny any pay disparity between the genders, claiming that women are not as smart or hardworking and that women are too emotional. Researchers, however, have discovered a cultural factor that shapes workplace gender roles—and gender salaries: religiosity. A three-percent increase in a state’s religiosity relates to a one-percent increase in gender wage-gap. In traditional Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—women are the family caregivers, meaning that they should be in the home, giving care. Religion conditions employers to believe that women should not work outside the home, affecting hiring, layoffs, and wages.

Presidential candidates follow the conservative pattern of gender pay gap. The “religiosity” test holds true for presidential candidate campaign workers. Joanna Rothkopf published an analysis of pay and discovered significant gender wage disparities in four of them. Bernie Sanders’ campaign had no women among the top highest-paid staffers during her research. Rothkopf used year-end finance reports for the last quarter of 2015 to answer these questions:

  • Do presidential campaigns employ a comparable number of women to men?
  • Do they pay female employees equitably?
  • Are an equal number of women given leadership roles and salaries to match?

She included only employees who received at least four paychecks and made a minimum projected annual salary of $24,000 during the quarter.

Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate who provides equal gender pay for equal work. The Cruz campaign pays men an average of $20,000 more than women. John Kasich had one woman among the top ten staffers. He paid men about $5,000 more on the overall average and $15,000 more on a median salary. Trump’s male employees receive an average of $3,000 more than the women. Details are available here.

A large diversity between male and female pay hit the news on April Fool’s Day, the day after five members of the U.S. national women’s soccer team filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accusing the U.S. Soccer Federation, the sport’s national governing body, of wage discrimination. The team earned $23.5 million in U.S. games during the first quarter, more than the men’s national soccer team earned in the same time period, and the Federation projects a $5 million profit for women and a $1 million loss for the men’s games. Yet the Federation pays female players almost four times less than male players.

The women soccer team’s players aren’t really equal to men—they’re superior. Entering their third year without a major trophy, men are ranked #30. The women’s win in the 2015 World Cup set the television record for the highest rated soccer match in U.S. history and the most-watched soccer event U.S. people ever watched. Yet they also earn less than men for sponsorship appearances, have a smaller per diem while with the national team, and get a smaller share of ticket revenue bonuses. On top of that, they have substandard working conditions, forced to play on physically-damaging artificial turf while men get natural grass.

Jim Tankersley pointed out that this disparity exists throughout culture in the nation, hurting the economy:

“If talented women are paid arbitrarily less than similarly talented or less-talented men, the market is telling those women to work less than they optimally would….  Fewer women are working, as a share of the workforce, than they used to, even though women are more likely than men to graduate college and gain the skills that are in the highest demand in our increasingly service-based economy. At the same time, American productivity growth has slowed. One way to speed it up would be encouraging more highly productive women to do the work they’re best at.”

An analysis debunks the excuse that the pay gap is from comparing different jobs. In a new study of 505,000 salaries, women still make less even if they work for the same company and have the same job title: men make 5.4 percent more in base pay and get 7.4 percent more in overall compensation. These gaps are less than the almost 25 percent more that men make than women, but they are still significant especially because they are controlled for several variables, including age, education, years of experience, industry, occupation, state, and company size.

Glassdoor will host a 60-minute roundtable on pay equality featuring Hillary Clinton and other leaders, experts and advocates tomorrow, April 12, 2016, to be broadcast live at 6:30 PDT on Glassdoor.com.

New research has found that women are paid less because employers value their work less. A study from Cornell University shows that the pay drops significantly—an average of 20 percent—when women enter male-dominated fields. The field of recreation went from predominantly male to female in the second half of the 20th century, and median hourly wages dropped 57 percent. When many ticket agents were changed from male to female, the decrease in wages was 43 percent. In fields where men comprise the majority, the media pay is 21 percent higher than in occupations with a majority of women. Differences in the type of work that men and women account for 51 percent of the pay gap, greater than in 1980. Of the 30 highest-paying jobs, 26 are male-dominated.

Younger women may not notice the gender pay gap because they are paid $.88 for every dollar man is paid. Women over 65, however, are paid only $.40 for a man’s dollar, a reason that twice as many older women as men live in poverty. The inequality for women leads to lower pensions and lower Social Security, according to a new report released by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). She said:

“We’ve moved twenty cents in the right direction since 1963, but we have 21 cents more to go, and at the rate we’re going, the pay gap will not close until the year 2059. That’s a long time to wait, so I feel that we should get serious about this.”

GOP women in Congress front the party’s failure to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced almost two decades ago, that would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963. It includes preventing employers from retaliating against workers who discuss pay, requiring employers to explain why wage gaps between their male and female employees exist, and strengthening penalties for equal pay violations. Two years ago, two GOP women were the face of a committee that accused Democrats of “politicizing” the issue, and a year ago, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), facing a tough election this year, cast her fourth vote against the bill.

Both Democratic candidates and GOP candidate Donald Trump support equal pay for women. Clinton introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act three separate times, and Sanders co-sponsored it. Throughout her campaign, Hillary Clinton has argued that paying women an equal wage for equal work would give an economic boost to the nation. Last October she sent this tweet when a GOP senator blocked a measure urging equal pay for the women’s and men’s national teams.

“Whether you’re a teacher, an executive, or a world-champion soccer player, you deserve equal pay.”

John Kasich has not taken a clear stance on equal pay, but he talked about the relationship of gender wage gap to skill and experience before he backpedalled by saying, “I understand that if you exclude women, you’re not as effective.” Ted Cruz’ website does not address the issue, but he voted against the act three times during his one term as senator.

Women comprise two-thirds of the nation’s 20 million low-wage workers. Nearly one-fourth of the low-wage workforce are female; only 12 percent of men are in the same category.

Working full-time, year-round, a woman earns $10,800 less per year than a man according to the Pay Inequality report. That’s a difference of almost one-half million dollars for a lifetime that also affect Social Security and any other pensions. The gender pay gap is larger in the U.S. than 22 of 34 developed countries. Equal pay would cut the number of women who live in poverty by one-half and boost the GDP by 2.9 percent.

Happy (Un)Equal Pay Day!

July 31, 2015

Travesties in Friday News Dump

The last day of the traditional work day is known in the media as “Trash Day,” according to the classic TV series “West Wing” description of the Friday news dump. The tactic is to “dump” bad news or documents on that day so that media scrutiny would be minimized. Here are some of the Friday dump day travesties:

 

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day was last Tuesday: July 28, 2015, is the day when black women caught up with the salary that white men made in 2015. In other words, black women had to work 575 days to match the pay that men made in 365 days. Black women make 64 percent of white men, but Native American women salaries are far worse—at 59 percent of white men’s salaries.

What Voting Problems?! A Wichita State University mathematician asked for Kansas voting machines to be audited because of suspicious patterns in electronic returns, but government officials don’t want anyone to know about its problems. When Beth Clarkson, chief statistician for WSU’s National Institution for Aviation Research, made calculations after last November’s election, she found a “statistically significant” pattern in which the percentage of GOP votes increase according to how big the precinct is, even where other demographics don’t agree. She said that this anomaly happens across the country. Forced to file a lawsuit against state Secretary of State Chris Kobach for documentation, she still hasn’t been able to get the information.

Walker Rides High on Hypocrisy. In an op-ed for the Des Moines Register, presidential candidate and Wisconsin’s GOP governor, Scott Walker, wrote, “You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep.” His reference was to how Hillary Clinton spent time in meetings with union bosses, who he calls “big-labor special interests,” as she will “shun everyday” people. Walker is headed to a luxury hotel in Southern California with other GOP presidential candidates—Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio—to attend the Koch brothers annual summer conference for Freedom Partners with 450 of the wealthiest donors on the far-right.

An Environmental Award for Rick Scott Is a Joke. The governor has  one of the worst environmental records in the history of Florida—and that’s saying something—and banned state employees from saying “climate change.” He decimated funding for important departments and projects while appointing developers and land use lawyers to their boards. They gave employees bonuses for speeding up permit approval and suspended Connie Bersok who refused to violate state law by approving development in the state’s wetlands. Chair of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida giving Scott an award for his “conservation work” is Rodney Barreto—wealthy businessman, lobbyist, chair of the South Florida Super Bowl Committee, and Jeb Bush appointee.

McConnell Shows Game Plan for 2017: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to use reconciliation to bypass the 60 votes necessary to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of reconciliation is reducing the deficit, and repealing the ACA would increase the deficit. The far-right Heritage Action group suggests replacing an official score of a repeal with a GOP invented score.

GOP Women Posted Graphic Illustration of Lynching on Facebook. The official Facebook page of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women briefly showed an image of a lynched black man until complaints led to its withdrawal. The text read, “The KKK was formed by the Democrats to keep control over black Americans. The Democrats of today just traded ropes for welfare.” In 2013, over 40 percent of food stamp recipients were white. The number of food stamp beneficiaries who are black has declined every year from 2001 through 2010; in 2013, only one-fourth of the recipients were black. Even if more beneficiaries were black, there is no excuse for using either the illustration or the text.

Pro-Israel, Anti-Iran Agreement Organization Pays to Take Democrat Senators to Israel on a Propaganda Tour: Lobby group AIPAC led the United States into a war with Iraq, and now it wants the United States to start a war with Iran. That’s why they are sending 40 members of Congress, several of them Democrats, to Israel this coming month to listen to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explain why they should vote with him instead of the President of the United States. Legislators prefer to meet with Netanyahu rather than their own constituents. AIPAC is spending at least $50 million to persuade people to vote against the Iran agreement.

Super PAC Carly for America Is Coordinating with Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina: The Supreme Court ruling allowing almost unlimited money in donations to political candidates through super PACS also mandated no communication between the organizations and the individual campaign efforts of political candidates. Yet the super PAC for Fiorina, confusingly called “Carly for America,” has invited its supporters to join a conference call with the candidate Carly Fiorina while including the necessary legal notice that Carly for America “is an independent expenditure committee and not authorized or coordinated with any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.” The super PAC also performs candidate campaign functions such as managing rapid response to press questions, rolling out endorsements of the candidate, funding grassroots organizing, and organizing advance work for Fiorina’s appearances. Fiorina isn’t alone in crossing the line: presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivered his anti-Donald Trump speech at a July 22 event hosted by his super PAC, Opportunity and Freedom PAC.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) Lecture Nuclear Physicist on Nuclear Weapons. Last week, Cruz and Johnson accused Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz of knowing less that they did about Iran’s possible nuclear weapons and the threat of an imaginary Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon to take out the nation’s electronic grid. First, the senators accused Moniz of not knowing what an EMP was because he had said he did not know the 2008 Congressional report recommendations. Cruz claimed to be “stunned” at what he considered Moniz’s ignorance about the subject. Then he refused to allow the nuclear physicist, longtime MIT professor, and holder of a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford to answer a question before accusing him of “refusing to answer the question.” Far-right articles claim that the EMP could easily leave “9 out of 10 Americans dead,”but the Federation of American Scientists stated that this would require a “large device” detonated about 300 miles above Wichita at the altitude of the International Space Station.

Alabama’s governor, Robert Bentley, Appointed Matthew Brown to the State Department of Education: The new appointee is a fundamentalist Christian who hates the public school system and has sworn that his children will never attend public school. Bentley said, “Matthew brings a unique perspective to the position.” His perspective is to starve the public education system through vouchers and charter schools, which Bentley strongly supports through taking $30 million from public schools.

Medicare Turned 50 Yesterday: That’s the good news. The travesty is the GOP attempts to eliminate health care for the elderly and disabled. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is leading the charge to”figure out a way to phase out this program for [younger people] and move to a new system that allows them to have something.” Backlash led a Bush spokesman to say that Bush wanted only modest reforms. Conservatives say they want to shift the current “defined benefit” program providing specific protections and levels of financial security to a “defined contribution” that distributes money according to a pre-determined formula and require seniors to shop for coverage. What they really want is to end Medicare’s guaranteed health care.

Cruz Tells Code Pink That “Truth Matters” Before He Lies: After pointing out the importance of truth, Cruz said that both Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and President Rouhani “explicitly said they are developing nuclear weapons. There is no doubt about it.” Code Pink’s co-founder Medea Benjamin said, “That is absolutely false.” Benjamin speaks the truth, but Cruz told Benjamin not to interrupt him. Conservatives failed to report the statements but said that Cruz “crushed” Code Pink. [Insight into Cruz: one of his favorite superheroes is Rorschach, the mentally unstable killer in Alan Moore’s Watchman who lives by his own moral code and exacts severe—maybe psychotic—punishment for anyone who violates it.]

pigs flyTexas Displays Judicial ActivismAfter anti-LGBT activists couldn’t get the 17,000 signatures required to put Houston’s anti-discrimination measures to a vote, the Texas Supreme Court suspended the ordinance, ruling that it either be repealed or put before voters. The court couldn’t do this legally, but it made the ruling. Do conservatives find this judicial activism—which they profess to hate? Will they object? Do pigs fly?

Congress Passes Short-term Highway Funding Bill: The Senate has passed a funding bill to continue the Highway Trust Fund for six years but pays for only three, providing $45 billion spread out for the six years over the gasoline tax. They not only refused to increase the gas tax to levels of 20 years ago but also could not work anything out with the House, that passed only a three-month extension of the funding. The Senate made a bipartisan refusal with 18 Democrats and 15 Republicans voting against it. Great comment from Oregon’s senior senator, Ron Wyden:

“I said to a friend this morning with apologies to the elephants: When the elephants lock tusks, it’s never dull.”

States cannot possibly plan for major transportation projects and prolong maintenance on dangerously damaged roads and bridges with short-term fixes, and this is the 34th “fix” since 2009—an average of five each year. After the recess, the two congressional chambers will have to tackle the problem again. And the Iran deal. And the appropriations bill. And Planned Parenthood. And anything else that has nothing to do with jobs. And the infrastructure suffers because Congress hands out the money in dribbles and drabs.

 

April 14, 2015

Women Make Less, Pay More

Women working full time, year round in 2013 earned an average of $0.78 for every dollar earned by men working full time, year round. In all but one of the occupations, stock clerks and order fillers, however, women earn less than men. Women in that one occupation, employing 0.7 percent of women in the full-time labor force, made $10 more per week than men. Both male and female health practitioner support technologists and technicians have the same median earnings per week, again employing 0.7 percent of women in the full-time labor force. The largest wage gap was $633 more per week for men in the personal financial advisor field.

The argument that the wage gap comes from “women’s choices” doesn’t hold water because this gap persists when women choose the same jobs as men. For example, male surgeons earn 37.76 percent more per week than their female counterparts; women make almost $40,000 less per year than men. The same problem is true for lower-paying, female-dominated careers: women are 94.6 percent of all secretaries and administrative assistants but earn 84.5 percent of what men in the same field do.

In nursing, a career with ten women to every man, male nurses make between $3,800 and $17,000 more than women each year. In a study of over 290,000 nurses, men made about 8 percent more every year from 1988 to 2013, taking into consideration location, age, race, marital status, and children. Two reasons given are gender discrimination and stronger negotiating skills on the part of men.

Education doesn’t explain the wage gap because women finish college and graduate school at higher rates than men. The answer is policies that support women who are expected to provide the vast majority of care for their families—paid sick days, paid family leave, equal pay protections, and pay transparency.

In a study of almost 10,000 MBA graduates, all with full-time jobs lined up, women’s starting salaries were almost $15,000 less than for men. The arguments of different work experience, flexibility to care for children, desire for part-time jobs, and no ambition for the top—all misplaced arguments for the gender wage gap—have no relevance in this comparison. In 17 of 22 industries, women were offered less starting money than men–in finance, $22,000 lower.

Today, April 14, is Equal Pay Day, representing how far into a new year that full-time working women have to work to earn as much as men did the previous year: 104 days. That’s an extra three months and fourteen days to make an “equal” pay for men last year.

Last fall, the Paycheck Fairness Act failed for the fourth time in the U.S. Senate, with a unanimous GOP vote, including all four women. The law would help women learn whether they earn less than male colleagues and require employers to explain why two similarly qualified workers earn different wages. It was the third time since 2012 that Republicans voted down the bill. The most recent bill had 52 votes but needed 60 to break the filibuster.

According to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), she voted against the law because it might prohibit merit-based pay and the Democrats had opposed her amendment. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that the Civil Rights Act and the 1963 Equal Pay Act provide enough protection. Tea Partier Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) said, “It’s a one-sided vote for political reasons, so [Democrats] can use it in campaigns.” These women all receive $174,000 per year, the same salary as their male counterparts. That’s 4.6 times women workers’ median yearly income but only 3.5 times that of working men.

Women not only work longer to make the same pay as men but also have to pay more for the same items. Twenty years ago, a California study showed that women’s razors, cologne, moisturizers, and haircuts cost more even if it was the same product as for men. The higher price tag for women was approximately $151 billion a year. Twenty years later, though, women are still paying more than men.

The “pink” tax is still with us, and The Daily Share has a video to show this. Pink razors still cost more than blue ones, and the Neutrogena facial moisturizer marketed for women at $11.42 is ten percent more expensive than the one retailed for men at $10.35. Both have the same ingredients. Neutrogena explained that the price differences “are related to a number of factors, including packaging differences, modifications of the formulation that impact the manufacturing process, and the discretion of each retailer.”

The additional costs for women keep mounting. Men can get a hair trim for $28 while women might pay $44, almost 60 percent more. Although an oxford shirt may cost men and women the same, the dry-cleaning for women’s clothes costs more than for men. Some cleaners refuse to launder women’s shirts, requiring females to pay for dry-cleaning their clothes.

Last fall, a change.org petition addressed the gender discrimination at Old Navy. Plus-size women pay much more for their larger sizes–$40 instead of $27–but men pay the same for their jeans no matter what the size—just $25. In addition, larger men don’t have to go to a different department for their jeans. Old Navy’s excuse about making women’s clothing more “flattering and on-trend” doesn’t hold up because the company doesn’t charge more to “flatter” petite-size women. After almost 100,000 signatures, Old Navy said that it would send the issue to its customer panel but has made no actual changes.

GenderedProducts5 bicLate in 2012, Bic released a pen designed for women. Ellen DeGeneres made it the topic of a monologue on her talk show and produced her own ad for the product. “They’re just like regular pens,” she said, “but they’re pink, so they cost twice as much.” The comments show that women get the irony of charging more for “pink.” Another company even produced a pink globe.

 

 

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In unisex styled shirts, women still pay more. The women’s version of this Hanes tee is $2 more per shirt (a 20% increase), despite being smaller and cut in the same “relaxed” fit as the men’s. At Target, women pay 36 percent more to get an almost identical bicycle as the one sold for men. Car purchases and repairs cost more for women.

Tariffs also ding women in their pocketbook. Twelve years ago, Michael Cone, a New York City trade lawyer, found that men’s sneakers were taxed at 8.5 percent compared to the ten-percent tax for women’s sneakers.

Women are poorer in every state; the difference is more pronounced in Southern states—particularly Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Nationwide, 15.5 percent of women live in poverty, compared Single mothers fare far worse than single fathers, almost twice as likely to be living in poverty at 43.1 percent compared with 23.6 percent. Check here to see the wage gap by state.

Girls are taught from childhood that they are valued less than boys. A study found that almost 70 percent of boys get an allowance as compared to under 60 percent of the girls. At the same time, girls do more than two hours more housework a week than boys who spend twice as much time playing. Boys are also 15 percent more likely to get an allowance for doing household chores than boys. Just as in adulthood, females are expected to work without pay.

men winning raceNothing shows the reality in the United States wage gap better than the cover of the University of North Georgia’s latest continuing education catalog that shows the white men ahead after getting a UNG education. The image is obviously a matter of poor judgment, but women make less money and pay more than men for the same products. The school has apologized and reprinted the catalog. In the same way, federal and state legislators should pass laws for paycheck fairness and genderless charges for products and services.

April 14, 2014

GOP Continue Bashing Women

Equal Pay Day, the day of the year that marks the additional time women need to work in order to match men’s pay the previous year, usually goes by with not much attention. Most people probably don’t even know that it happens. Not so this year, partly because of the Paycheck Fairness Act that failed in the Senate with 54 votes. The mere thought of equal pay released a firestorm of negative reactions from conservatives. These are some responses to gender equity pay from the far-right:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “[The Democrats just want to blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.” It’s all part of the Dems’ “never-ending political road show.” [Is that what he’ll say when he runs against a woman this fall—if he wins his contested primary?]

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “This whole thing is really backfiring on the administration and on our Democratic friends because people are seeing it for what it is: It’s a transparent political campaign. It isn’t actually about solving problems, because the law of the land is already paycheck equity.” [No, it isn’t.]

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS): “[The bill is] “condescending . . . Some folks don’t understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it.” [Translation: My pay is equal. Why should I care about anyone else.]

GOP Senate hopeful from Michigan Terri Lynn Land: “Well, we all like to be paid more and that’s great. But the reality is that women have a different lifestyle. They have kids, they have to take them to get dentists’ appointments, doctors’ appointments all those kinds of things, and they’re more interested in flexibility in a job than pay.” [And she expects women to vote for her?]

RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski: On a television talk show, she couldn’t manage to answer a question about what pay equity policies her party would support. [Probably because there aren’t any.]

Fox stalwart Bill O’Reilly: “I’m not buying this inequality business.” [No, but the women do.]

Another Fox … Megyn Kelly: “Now they think you’re anti-woman if you question that meme about equal pay.” [The position of a woman who Sheryl Sandberg, busy touting her new business-friendly book Lean In for Graduates, calls a “good friend.”]

Executive director of the Texas Republican Party Beth Cubriel: Women will get better pay when they learn to negotiate like men. [Then they’ll be called bitches.]

Leader of Red State Women Cari Cristman: Women are too busy to need equal pay laws.  [They might have more time if they received equal pay.]

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA): Avoiding reference to gender equity pay, he wants Democrats to “put the politics aside” and talk with Republicans about “things that we can do together, things that disproportionately impact women, without playing politics.” [As if the pay gap doesn’t “disproportionately impact women”!]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): His budget, just passed in the House by all except 12 Republicans disproportionately cut women’s benefits. [There’s that “disproportionately” again!]

Host of Fox Business, Melissa Francis, has the most bizarre rationale for women being paid less. For her, the gender pay gap is positive because women were better able to keep their jobs during the recession than men. To her, the less that women make, the better off they are. She’s even wrong with her belief that women kept their jobs because they get paid less. The recession hurt men more because jobs in the male arena were more likely to disappear. The rapidly-growing service industry employs a large number of women whereas manufacturing, mining, logging, and construction hire more men. And Francis is the host of a business program!

Republicans have found other ways to drive women away from the GOP:

Charles Murray, education advisor to GOP Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, said he has found no “evidence” to prove that any woman had been a “significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.” In his speech at the University of Texas, Murray also declared that women’s brains are smaller than men’s. Like most other Texas Republicans, he thinks that the gender pay gap is a “myth.” Abbott is now avoiding the press.

George Bush’s CIA director Michael Hayden, disturbed because the committee led by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) approved the release of a report on U.S. torture of prisoners, referred to her as “emotional.” He was talking about a report, passed 11-3, that he hasn’t seen and that is well supported by documents about the “interrogation techniques.”

The Florida House considers words such as “uterus” to be “inappropriate” language for young interns, who were all sent out of the chamber while the Republicans discussed more draconian measures against women’s reproductive rights. The teenagers were allowed back in to hear about “bleeding chest wounds” during a discussion on guns.

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), caught kissing his aide six weeks after his election last fall, solved his problem by firing her. Married for 16 years with five children, the highly religious man plans to stick it out for the fall election despite opposition from his governor, Bobby Jindal, and the leader of the state GOP. On the other hand, the GOP stuck by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) who was re-elected after he admitted “serious sins” with hookers.

Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist, Nolan Finley, wrote about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schnauer’s running mate, Lisa Brown. “She’s still milking the vagina business and is a minor celebrity among feminists.”

The GOP has one solution to help women get more money: marry a wealthy man. A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research called “Marry Your Like: Mating and Income Inequality” places the blame for the ongoing increase of inequality on “assertive mating,” the tendency of similar people marrying each other. Their conclusion is that extreme income inequality will only grow worse because people with similar incomes marry each other. The paper does skip the disappearance of the middle class from lower wages and lack of job access and policies that favor the top one percent. Women should just marry up.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) also believe–wrongly–that marriage makes women wealthier. Ralph Reed makes it even simpler. His solution is to stop making divorce so easy.

The GOP also has a new initiative to attract women voters, the “14 in ‘14.”  The Republican National Committee wants to recruit and train women under 40 to talk about the GOP message in the last 14 weeks of its campaign. Candidates should put their wives and children in their advertising, make sure that women attend their events, and establishing a database of women who will campaign for them. The project started with “Project GROW”—which didn’t—in which the GOP would recruit women candidates for Congress. With fewer GOP women running this year than in 2012, the women will be the wives in the television commercials.

According to a CNN poll, 55 percent of people, including 59 percent of women, think that the GOP doesn’t understand women’s problems in current times. In addition to opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act, Republicans refuse to consider a hike in minimum wage. The GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which helps far more women than men.

Because of the GOP, both in their policies and the way that they have forced Democrats to the right, the United States is #23 in the world behind Barundi and Lesotho. This information comes from the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report that “examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.” Of the 110 countries in every report since the initial report in 2006, 95 have shown improvement over the last four years. Globally, women are living longer and healthier, gaining more access to education, and participating more in political decision making.

One state is trying to make a difference for women and families. The Minnesota House has passed Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) on to the Senate despite a complaint from one GOP member who said it make women look as if they were “whining.” The bill improves parental leave, affordable childcare, gender pay gap, retirement security, and economic consequences of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. It’s not a done deal, but it’s a start.

April 8, 2014

Equal Pay Day – GOP Disses Women

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:30 PM
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Presidents frequently sign a proclamation to note important dates, but President Barack Obama went far beyond a statement of support today. On Equal Pay Day 2014, the president has signed two new executive orders to move women toward equal pay with men.

Both orders are similar to provisions in the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that the Senate is considering this week but the House is pretty sure to ignore:

  1. Prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share salary information with others.
  2. Instruct the Department of Labor to create new regulations requiring federal contractors to report wage-related data to the government.

The Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act that would not only include these two provisions for most other employers but also require them to prove that gender differences in pay are based on issues other than sex. In addition, it would strengthen penalties for violations in equal pay.

President Obama began supporting equal pay as soon as he took over the office in January 2009. His first act was to sign an equal pay bill inspired by the SCOTUS decision against Lily Ledbetter, who discovered after 20 years with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. that men in her same job with equal or less experience earned much more money than she did. When she sued, SCOTUS maintained that she had only 180 days from being hired to complain, despite the fact that she didn’t learn about the different wages for 20 years. Congress passed the law that made the 180 days contingent on learning about the inequities.

Equal Pay Day is named for the date each year to show how far women must work into the current year to match the pay that men made the previous year. This year that day is April 8, better than April 18 in 2005, but not as good as April 3 in 1998. In Europe, Equal Pay Day is March 12 this year, showing that European women are closer to equality than we are in the United States.

Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reaffirmed the Equal Pay Act, signed by President John F. Kennedy a year earlier on June 10, 1963.  That  legislation “prohibits discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers,” and the 1964 act prohibits employer discrimination on sex, race, religion, and/or nationality. Yet women who work full time in the U.S. make an average of 77 cents for every dollar men make. Black and Hispanic women make much less, and the disparity is growing. Hispanics currently make 54 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Even considering factors contributing to the gap such as industry, education, college major, and location, men are still paid 7 percent more than women.

Young women who recently graduated from college earn only 82 percent of the salaries of their recently graduated male counterparts who studied the same majors, completed the same degrees, and entered the same occupations. In 2012, personal care and service work was the only one of 265 major occupations in which women made, on average, more than men.

Lisa Maatz, AAUW Vice President of Government Relations, wrote about the gender pay gap:

  1. The pay gap hasn‘t budged in a decade.
  2. Women in every state experience the pay gap, but some states are worse than others—Wyoming at the bottom with women paid 64 percent of what men were paid in 2012.
  3. The pay gap grows with age, beginning with 90 percent until age 35 and then dropping.
  4. The pay gap also exists among women without children.

Republicans argue that the issue is a distraction and that the proposed legislative solution is unnecessary. Texas Gov. Rick Perry used this argument when he appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, calling the debate in the state governor’s race “nonsense,” saying the Democrats should focus on “substantive issues.” The gubernatorial candidates are Perry’s friend, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and the woman who filibustered against abortion restrictions for 11 hours, state Sen. Wendy Davis. Perry is considering another presidential run in 2016.

To protect Texas retailers, Perry  vetoed a bill last year to allow victims of wage discrimination to sue in state court. The Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Association of business and the National Federation of Independent Businesses secretly requested the gubernatorial veto. The bill would have benefited people in the state because they would have easier access and less expense in state courts. Retailers objected to including retirement checks that weren’t included in the bill.

Also ignoring women voters, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, asked what the Paycheck Fairness Act would do for men.

Conservatives use a variety of arguments in their attempts trying to show that there is no pay inequality between men and women: different career paths, more overtime in male-dominated blue-collar work, fewer hours worked by women. These arguments don’t consider the research in pay difference when both men and women with the same skills work the same jobs for the same number of hours and in the same conditions. Women are also punished if they ask about wage differences, keeping them from trying to get equal pay.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly called unequal gender pay a “meme,” and Dana Loesch said it is a “myth.” Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is struggling with re-election as Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin forces him to the right, calls gender equality in pay a “bizarre obsession.” McConnell will likely win the primary in a few weeks, but then he’s up against Alison Lundergan Grimes.

McConnell already voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2010 which doesn’t fit well with his statement that he’s always supported women. His record says otherwise as he voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and against renewing the Violence against Women Act in 2013. In Kentucky, women make only 72 cents for every man’s dollar. Luckily for McConnell he’s raking in the donations, even from dead people.

In addition to claiming that equal pay would be a “burden” on employers, the GOP talking point is that Democrats didn’t bother to do anything about it when they had a majority in both chambers of Congress and the presidency. The statement is wrong, either through ignorance or lying. When the Dems brought up the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2010, it passed with House, then controlled by the Democrats, although 97 percent of the GOP voted against it. In the Senate, the bill got only 58 votes, two votes short of the new “majority” of 100 senators because of the filibuster. The Democrats tried again in 2012, but failed. This week if the Senate passes the Paycheck Fairness Act again, the GOP-controlled House needs only one person to vote it down—Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) when he refuses to bring it to the chamber.

If women earned equal pay for equal work, the country’s economy would boost GDP by 2.9 percent or almost $450 billion and cut the poverty rate in half for working women.

The next time a person says, “We’re all for equal pay,” ask them why they don’t vote for it. If they say that women already have legal pay, ask them why they’re fighting a bill if it’s not any problem.

 

April 9, 2013

Still Not Equal

Supposed you make $36,000 a year, and you could magically make $10,000 more. That miracle would happen if you could overcome the gender gap in earnings: on average, women make the $36,000, and men make $46,000. That difference was “celebrated” today on Equal Pay Day, the day when women’s last year’s wages catch up with men’s wages of one year. That’s how far women have to work into 2013 to earn as much as a man got paid by December 31, 2012.

There’s a bit of good news: Equal Pay Day came eight days earlier than last year. But there’s still bad news: it still took 99 days to do this because women’s earnings are 77 percent of men’s.

Despite the conservatives’ cry of family values, the lack of equal pay between men and women seriously affects families. A guest column for The Oregonian pointed out how the wage gap disproportionately affects mothers’ economic stability with the “motherhood penalty” approximated at 5 percent per child. The wage gap contributes out to the fact that “motherhood is a leading predictor of poverty in old age in our country.” In the United States, three-fourths of all mothers work outside the home with 40 percent of them the primary breadwinners.

Listen to the conservatives, and you might think that it’s because women don’t work as many hours or they just choose to stay at home more than men do. For full-time employees, 60 percent of the gap comes from work experience (10 percent), union status (4 percent), occupation choice (27 percent), and other differences such as maternity leave or child care. Another 25 percent comes from the difference between the high-valued male industries such as construction, manufacturing, and mining and lower-paid female-oriented service-sector or clerical positions.

Women still need more education to earn as much as men during their lifetimes. For example, a women needs a doctoral degree to earn the same as a man with a bachelor’s degree; a man with a high school education will earn about the same as a woman with a bachelor’s degree.

There remains, however, the unexplained gap of over 10 cents on the dollar, 40 percent of the difference, resulting in a shortage of $4,465 per year for that woman making the average salary of $36,000. It is this difference that could be corrected by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and establishing a commission to address the gender pay gap, as Jane Farrell, Research Assistant for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, and Sarah Jane Glynn, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center, recommend.

The United States needs a National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force that would bring together the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management to address barriers to pay equity and recommend solutions.

Of the 534 occupations listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn more than men in exactly seven professions. These employ about 1.5 million women, about 3 percent of full-time female workforce.  In these seven occupations, women earn an average of 6.4 percent over men whereas in the occupations where men earn significantly more than women the difference is 39.5 percent.

The Paycheck Fairness Act is designed to update the Equal Pay Act of 1963. On her blog, Joanne Tosti-Vasey gives directions to get information about the status of the Paycheck Fairness Act. In the search box in the middle of the page, type in “Paycheck Fairness Act” and click search.  On the next page, two bills will show up—S. 84 and HR 377.  This page provides several links to information about both of these bills—text, bill history, co-sponsors, etc. If you click on “cosponsors” for each bill, you can determine if your representatives are publicly supporting the bill or not. If they are a sponsor, thank them and then ask them to call for a hearing on vote on the bill.  If they are not, ask them to sign on.You can check to see if your representatives in Congress have co-sponsored the bill.

If $10,000 doesn’t sound like much, think about the fact that this totals up to over $400,000 during the 40 years of work history. A woman would have to work almost 12 years longer to make up this gap. A typical woman working year round who starts, but does not graduate from high school, would have to work 17 years longer. AAUW (American Association of University Women) has updated The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, which includes state-by-state rankings of the pay gap, the pay gap by age, race/ethnicity, resources for fair pay advocates, and help for women facing workplace discrimination.

The Nation has seven ways to eliminate the wage gap between women and men:

End salary secrecy.  Half of all workers are discouraged or prohibited from telling their colleagues their salaries. You can’t sue for equal salary if you don’t know what it is.

Raise the minimum wage. About two-thirds of workers making minimum wage are women, and two-thirds of workers in tipped occupations are women. Those occupations often pay far less than minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would mean raises for 28 million workers. Despite critics claiming that doing this would increase unemployment, a comparison between counties that raised and failed to raise the minimum wage shows no negative impact. Equal pay, including raising the minimum wage, would be a bonus to the country through stimulating the economy. Low-income employees immediately spend any additional wages on basics such as groceries, housing, transportation, and other expenses.

Fix the broken career pipeline. Men are far more likely to move to higher-paying positions than women despite parenting, experience, or aspiration.

Pass family leave policies. If men had to parent a much as women do, lawmakers would quickly pass paid family leave laws. Without these, women are the ones to stay home with children whenever necessary and the ones to lose wages for doing this.

Increase childcare support. Women’s careers can be disrupted by inability to get childcare, but higher pay and better benefits are correlated with a continuous work history.  If the government fully funded childcare programs, mother’s overall employment would increase 10 percent.

Encourage unionization. Increased unionization rates are correlated with a smaller wage gap, as much as 10 percent more. Non-union workers have twice as many problems with discouragement or prohibition in telling colleagues their wages as compared to union workers.

End occupational segregation. Women are not in higher unemployment because they are more likely to be public sector workers, an area that has lost over 800,000 jobs in the past four years. On the other hand, the number of manufacturing and construction positions has increased. Not only are there more jobs but these also pay more than public sector jobs.

In support of the Paycheck Fairness Act, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) wrote:

“Nearly 50 years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act, women are still being redlined, sidelined and pink slipped because we fight for equal pay for equal work. Equal pay is not just for our pocketbooks, it’s about family checkbooks and getting it right in the law books.”

April 17, 2012

unEqual Pay Day Returns

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 3:05 PM
Tags: , ,

Most people know that today is the deadline for paying 2011 taxes; fewer people may recognize this date as unEqual Pay Day. April 17, 2012 represents how far into 2012 women must work to match what men earned in 2011—an additional 107 days because,on average, women are paid 77 cents for each dollar that men receive. Over a lifetime, pay inequity costs the average woman between $700,000 and $2 million, losing women not only wages during their working years but also Social Security benefits after they retire. Millions of women are single mothers, so the lack of equal pay hurts millions of children in their households. Single women earn only 78.8 percent of what married women earn, and only 57 cents for every dollar that married males earn.

Think of what women could by if the wage gap were eliminated:

  • 62 more weeks of food;
  • four more months of mortgage and utility payments;
  • seven more months of rent;
  • 25 more months of family health insurance premiums; or
  • 1,914 additional gallons of gas.

Occupations dominated by men pay more, and then within occupations, men are paid more. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research analysis reviewing the gender wage gap in the 20 most common occupations for men and women shows “women have lower median earnings than men in all but one of the 20 most common occupations for women, ‘bookkeeping and auditing clerks,’ where women and men have the same median earnings.” Women doctors earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts while female attorneys take home 78 cents for every dollar earned by male attorneys.

More than 40 percent of the wage gap cannot be explained by occupation, work experience, race, or union membership. More than one-quarter of the wage gap is due to the different jobs that men and women hold, and about 10 percent is due to the fact that women are more likely to leave the workforce to provide unpaid care to family members. But even when controlling for gender and racial differences, 41 percent is “unexplainable by measureable factors.” Even if women and men have the same background, the wage gap still exists, highlighting the fact that part of the discrepancy can be attributed to gender-based pay discrimination.

The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, released by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), identifies state-by-state pay rankings. The wage gap is narrowest in the nation’s capital, where women have the best earnings ratio–91 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The worst earnings ratio is in Wyoming, where women make 64 percent of men’s earnings. White and Asian women earn, respectively, 82 percent and 88 percent of white men’s earnings; African American and Hispanic women earn much less, just 70 percent and 61 percent of what white men earn, on average. Age also makes a difference: for working women between the ages of 25 to 29, the annual wage gap is $1,702 while in the last five years before retirement the annual wage gap jumps to $14,352.

To close this gender pay gap, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act which earlier failed in 2010. To update the ineffective Equal Pay Act of 1963, the new act prohibits retaliation for disclosure of compensation data from private sector employers while mandating that this information be available to employees. Those who fight this legislation fail to see that equal pay is also key to economic growth. Estimates show that the U.S. GDP would grow by up to 9 percent if women were given equal pay. These men also fail to realize that they would benefit if their female spouses were to earn equal salaries.

With conservatives currently controlling legislation, it’s highly unlikely that the Paycheck Fairness Act will make much progress this election year. Former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, again running for Congress, is an example of narrow view these people hold. He would like eliminate the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act because it’s “hurting business.” About the existing law, he said, That thing is a nuisance. It shouldn’t be the law.” Michigan is next door to Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker just signed into law a bill that removes the state equal pay requirement

During tonight’s interview of Mitt Romney by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, the Republican presidential candidate refuses to say whether he would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act which clarifies that the 180 day statute of limitations for filing a pay discrimination suit begins again with each new paycheck that contains the unfair pay. Romney claims that he doesn’t want to address prior laws, a very strange comment from the man who declares that he would have vetoed—and will work to repeal—several other laws including the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Romney is walking a very narrow line with during the next six-plus months. Almost 60 percent of women over the age of 16—66 million women—work, and we might assume that most of them think that they should earn equal pay for an equal job.

As ridiculous as equal pay for men and women may sound at this time, we cannot forget that women fought for the vote for 72 years. Despite the “war on women” that Republicans have declared, women can fight back—if not for themselves, then for their daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters.

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