Today is Equal Pay Day, an opportunity to raise awareness of the gender pay gap. This gap affects women in every single state in nearly every occupation; there’s no escaping it. And if you’re a woman of color, you’re even worse off.
This week, President Obama is planning two executive actions to promote equal pay for women: an executive order that will prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about how much money they make, and a presidential memorandum that will require contractors to report data disaggregated by sex and race showing the compensation they provide their employees.
Join me in a slow clap, won’t you?
Women, their families and their communities are searching for a strong political will to help eliminate pay inequity. It may be 2014, but many of our elected officials (the president notwithstanding) and political power players are stuck in the 1950s, either dismissing or bemoaning our demands for fair pay. And — gasp! — they aren’t all men.
Here are the top 3 most ridiculous things female GOP-ers have recently said about equal pay.
1. Women are too busy to want equal pay.
RedState Women Executive Director Cari Christman said that the GOP does not support equal pay laws because “women want real-world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric.” When asked to elaborate, she said,
We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It’s a busy cycle for women, and we’ve got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what’s practical? And we want more access to jobs. We want to be able to get a higher education degree at the same time we’re working or raising a family.
So we want education and jobs but not equal pay? I beg to differ. Someone needs to explain to me how it’s not practical to receive proper remuneration for work so that we can pursue higher education and raise families.
2. “Men Are Better Negotiators.”
At least that’s how Beth Cubriel, head of the Texas Republican Party, explains the pay gap’s existence. She thinks that instead of pursuing legal action for pay equity, women should simply become better negotiators. You have to hand it to her — she’s managed to apply classic victim-blaming rhetoric to the workplace, while simultaneously bolstering a gender stereotype.
3. Fair pay makes women look like “whiners.”
Minnesota State Rep. Andrea Kieffer recently balked at a set of bills that would promote greater economic equality, claiming they paint women as whiners: “We heard several bills last week about women’s issues, and I kept thinking to myself: ‘These bills are putting us backwards in time. We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women, and almost making us look like whiners.”
Newsflash: we wouldn’t need these “special bills” if we were treated as equals from the get-go.