Society and Culture
The GOP Blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act AGAIN
You guys, I’m getting really fed up with the GOP.
This week, Senate Republicans voted unanimously to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill aimed at closing the gender wage gap.
It would have encouraged salary transparency among employees, protected workers who share salary information with one another, imposed more serious penalties for pay discrimination, and required employers to prove that any existing wage gaps are in place for reasons other than gender.
Basically, the Paycheck Fairness Act is exactly what it sounds like — a bill that seeks fair paychecks for everyone, regardless of gender.
You’d think that’d be a pretty standard, reasonable goal: pay everyone fairly based on the work that they do, not on the genitals they have! Easy enough, right? Well, apparently not. Because this is the fourth time that Republicans have blocked it.
It’s a pretty counter-intuitive move, considering that just a few weeks ago, the Republican National Committee claimed that, “All Republicans support equal pay.” It appears that these Senate Republicans are voting against the official party line.
— RNC (@GOP) September 1, 2014
Not to mention, earlier this month, Politico leaked that the GOP was sorely lacking in support from single women, and would be targeting the Beyoncé-voters’ bloc come election season. Senate Republicans didn’t seem to get that memo, since their actions this week are only further alienating the key voting demographic they need to win over.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is a direct response to the realities of gender discrimination in the workplace — women earn an average of 77 cents to a man’s dollar. That statistic hasn’t changed in a decade. And while it’s true that it’s a fairly complex number, determined by a variety of factors, it’s still very real that the average female worker earns less than her male counterparts.
And Republicans are voting to keep it that way.
Women are paid less than men from the minute they enter the workforce right through to the moment they get promoted to the executive corner office. There are a ton of factors that go into the wage gap — industry, tenure, marital status, and education level, just to name a few — but women are getting paid less no matter which of these variables get thrown into the mix.
Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act would send a clear message that the federal government cares about women in the workforce. This bill would not only take real steps toward closing the pay gap between men and women, it would also communicate that female workers are valued. The way they’re treated, and how much they’re paid, matters.
But Republicans are voting to hang on to current practices, like salary secrecy, that work to keep women’s paychecks smaller and their professional contributions undervalued. Why? According to the Senators, they worry that the bill would cause employers to stop hiring female employees, fearful of discrimination lawsuits. They’ve also argued that the wage gap is exaggerated and that women are already protected from discrimination enough.
So basically, the Republican Senators who blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act on Monday night are sending a number of shitbag messages:
They’re dismissing the very real problem of pay discrimination, invalidating the experiences of women who are forced to support themselves on inadequate wages simply because they have vaginas.
They’re telling the world that women are not valuable workers, and that it’s perfectly acceptable for women to work just as hard as — if not harder than — their male counterparts, and get paid less.
They’re upholding a hostile, sexist culture in which, apparently, if employers are expected to treat their female workers in a non-discriminatory manner, they simply won’t hire female workers at all.
And finally, they’re sending a crystal clear message to women across the nation that the GOP does not take our priorities seriously. Instead, they’ll tell us our problems don’t exist, our concerns are invalid and unnecessary, and then vote in favor of policies that harm us.
The RNC’s Twitter account claims to be in support of equal pay for women, but actions speak louder than words.
You’re not fooling anyone, conserva-turds.
Hannah R. Winsten (@HannahRWinsten) is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York City. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow.
Featured image courtesy of [Gage Skidmore via Flickr]