Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Like Men Only Cheaper

This week, one of the first actions of the new 111th Congress is to vote on pay equity. The House will vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

As the YWCA puts it :

"Pay equity legislation is necessary to allow individuals to better fight pay discrimination strengthen penalties for violation, compel employers to explain wage gaps, and develop training for women and girls about salary negotiation. With a record 70 million women in the workforce, wage discrimination hurts the majority of American families. In addition, wage discrimination lowers total lifetime earnings, reducing women’s benefits from Social Security and pension plans and inhibiting their ability to save not only for retirement but for other lifetime goals such as buying a home and paying for a college education. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor unemployment statistics show that women tend to be hurt first and worst during economic downturns."

I used to think that this sort of thing didn't effect me. Pay equality law cases seemed like something that happened in some old movie starring Sally Field. Unfortunately, the last few years have taught me a lot - I've been told not to apply for jobs because "they just really don't hire girls" (and no it didn't even involve heavy lifting), I've watched friends lose jobs to less experienced guys, and yea, I know a lot of girls who struggle to get paid as much as their male co-workers. Its awkward and unpopular to talk about but the fact that these laws don't pass says something about how our country thinks of women. We still make 77 cents to every dollar that a man makes - and thats for equal work.

Contact your representative today. This website will help you figure out who to call and where. All you have to do is say that you're calling to urge your representative to vote yes on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

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