On Thursday the House of Representatives rejected an effort to bring to a vote the Paycheck Fairness Act, once again turning its back on working women and families.
The fight against pay equity is a key component in the Republican assault on women’s rights. The Paycheck Fairness Act is not a radical piece of legislation, It would close loopholes in existing law, prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss their salaries, reward employers who have good pay practices and provide assistance to those small businesses that need help adopting equal pay policies.
Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families condemned the vote:
At this time when America’s women are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, resulting in more than $10,000 in lost income each year, the nation badly needs Congress to pass this bill. Nearly 15 million households in this country are headed by women, nearly 30 percent of them live in poverty, and women are now the primary or co-breadwinners for two-thirds of families. Women’s work is essential, and families suffer when women are not treated fairly in the workforce. The Paycheck Fairness Act would address discrimination. It’s a law the nation needs.
The House has passed the Paycheck Fairness Act in the past, and the Senate is scheduled to consider it next week. Today was an opportunity to advance this legislation, but a majority in the House bowed to special interests and refused even to bring it up for a vote. Those who wonder why some say there is a ‘war on women’ in Congress need only look to today’s actions in the House. It was a disgrace.
Lisa Maatz, director of public policy and government relations for the American Association of University Women echoed those sentiments:
AAUW is pleased to see this important issue brought before the House and applauds the efforts of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and pay equity champion Rep. Rosa DeLauro to secure a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. We’re deeply disappointed, however, that a majority of their colleagues didn’t also see the wisdom of passing the bill. The House of Representatives had a chance to make real change in the lives of American women and their families today but instead settled on a partisan stalemate.
The sting of gender pay discrimination is real. We know that women are far more likely to spend their golden years in poverty and that it starts the moment we throw our graduation caps in the air. Women’s wages should be determined by the work we do rather than influenced by outdated and discriminatory gender stereotypes. It’s time for our paychecks and our national policies to catch up to the 21st century. AAUW looks forward to the Senate producing a more enlightened vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act next week.
It’s hard to believe Republicans are making a serious play for women voters when they continue to pull stunts like this. So far Republicans have blocked renewal of the Violence Against Women Act and are now getting in the way of pay equity. Women, we must remember this come November.
Photo from jswieringa via flickr.