This week the Senate voted 58-41 against allowing debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. This legislation, of course, addresses the so-called wage gap between men and women and expands the scope of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Also, don’t forget about the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act of 2009, which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964). We’ve already got a whole lot of legislation in place to prevent discrimination based on sex when it comes to pay. In fact, that is the law of the land – equal pay for equal work. Yet, for some reason, some folks in Congress thought we needed even more legislation on the matter. Enough is enough.
I constantly see the $0.77 or $0.78 for every $1 a man earns argument floating around. I don’t buy it at all, and there is nothing that bothers me more than statistics that are misleading. Groups like NOW irritate the crap out of me with all their spouting off about non-equality. Things seem pretty damn equal to me.
Here is a great article that purports to dispel the myth. As I suspected, all of these figures do not take the following into account: occupational choice and time commitment. Both of these should be important, no? You can’t compare apples to oranges, yet that is what these figures do. Sure, let’s compare a physicist to a teacher. Let’s compare a person working 40 hours a week to a person working 50 hours a week. Let’s compare a person who has continuously worked for 5 years to a person who took off 2 years to have a baby. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who is going to make more money. You can’t even truly look on paper at a person’s credentials, years of experience, and job description to do a comparison. The fact is, some people go above and beyond while others sit back and do the minimum. In my opinion, the former, whether male or female, deserves higher pay. That’s not equal work, so why should it be equal pay?
In my little world, we have female associates who make less than their counterpart male associates. Why? Those male associates work harder. They are here earlier and later, they volunteer for the crappy document inspection trips to places like Omaha, and they don’t complain about any of it. We also have female associates who make the same as, or more than, their male counterparts. It goes both ways, and has absolutely nothing to do with gender. It has to do with how they perform on the job.
Then there is the whole “men work more continuously than women” argument, so thus their pay is higher. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one. If a female decides to take three months off for maternity leave, or to take off a year or two (or more) to raise children, or constantly has to leave early or get in late or miss work due to child obligations, then she can’t possibly expect to make the same as male (or for that matter, female) coworkers who aren’t doing those things. Is it fair that women bear the brunt of child rearing in this country? Of course not. But it’s called making a sacrifice. If you choose the child and family route, your work (and pay) may suffer as a result unless you are able to keep up the same schedule and obligations as your counterparts. Here’s an idea: marry a man who is willing to take on half the responsibility.
Here’s my favorite statistic from the above linked article: “Women who have never had a child earn 113 percent of what men earn.” You never hear anything about that, do you?