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Women Do Earn Equal Pay

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 3

By Taylor Ramsey

President Obama’s State of the Union speech had 33.3 million viewers which is the lowest since 2000. That number is depressing in that I wish many more Americans would be interested in the state of the union from the president’s perspective. I hope many more citizens reviewed the speech and news reports since then as it is so important for all of us to have some knowledge of what is happening and how it affects us. We need that information to make informed votes.

I am concerned though about the many half-truths the president presented in his report. I so wanted him to be up front and factual. Instead he fudged on quite a few points which make it difficult for voters to be able to formulate good decisions. Our busy lives or lack of interest prevents many of us from checking whether his statements, including opposing views presented after the speech, are accurate.

One example is the president’s statement, “Now, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.”
I believe most of that statement is true, however, there is a reason women make less than most men and, in my opinion, women do earn equal pay for equal work.

The president wishes Senate bill S. 84: Paycheck Fairness Act introduced by U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulskii with 52 co-sponsors who include California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstien would pass. It is meant to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 “in order to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes”

Section 2 (2) of this bill states “women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work” and it further states “disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or lingering effects of past discrimination.” If this is truly the case, then why are the authorities who enforce the original bill of 1938 not administering fines or throwing the violators in jail?

Of course, there may be a few violators and they should be addressed, but in general, I firmly believe the president is continually throwing the above rhetoric out there to perpetuate the false “republican” war on women.

I have and continue to work for many different corporations and small companies as a person who contracts my services to them. I have never seen a woman earn less than a man for equal work. What I have seen are people, both women and men, who earn more in the same job than their counterparts because they work harder and contribute more to the company’s bottom line.

Think about it. Businesses exist to produce a needed and desired product for consumers in order to earn a profit. If the numbers the president presented were accurate, then the unemployment rate for women should fall to zero and the unemployment rate for men should skyrocket. After all, an employer would be nuts to pay a man a dollar when he could pay a woman 77 cents!

Generally, it is a fact that more women than men take time to stay home to care for children. The rate of single parenthood is through the roof and most of those single parents are women who do not have time to devote to careers as they are just trying to stay afloat.

If a woman is taking care of children at home, then she is not in the workplace gaining experience or going to school to receive more education. Again, in general, men are not interrupting their careers and education as much as women and therefore their experience is leading to higher paying jobs or more hours of pay per year.

Employers cannot be blamed for personal decisions workers make to take themselves out of the marketplace or for taking lower paying part-time and entry level jobs in order to take on the difficult and demanding task of caring for a family at home.

People, whether women or men, who complete their education or remain employed on a full-time basis to obtain experience and showcase their work and talent will receive the promotions and higher pay schedules.

If an employer is discriminating then we should use existing laws to address it. The president and Democrats should not present half truths to create a “false” fact. Women do earn equal pay for equal work. Women and men make personal decisions that directly affect their career and pay schedules.

I wish more people would listen to the next State of the Union speech, no matter their political view, and take the time to evaluate it. I believe too that most of us agree that people should be paid equally for equal work.

Mr. President, please present all the facts. There is no war on women in the workplace. It is up to each of us to make our own career decisions, no matter our gender, to earn our wages.