Women’s Equality Day: Pay It Forward

Marking 90 years of women’s suffrage is a wonderful thing.  And you’d think that with almost 100 years of constitutionally recognized civic rights the nature of the debate surrounding women’s participation in the public sphere and the public sector would have changed.

You’d be wrong.

Just this week the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in their attempt to mark the accomplishments of women since suffrage, noted that current attempts to close the pay gap were misguided and, indeed, went against the “equality” efforts of the suffragettes.  According to the Chamber, there is no pay gap, their is a choice gap.  Women earn less because they chose to.  Or, said a little differently, women routinely make different personal choices than men which results in them gaining less experience and making less money.

According to the Chamber, women need to learn to make better choices, from choosing the “right place to work and choosing the right partner at home”.  The logic continues that those who now fight to close the pay gap are now fighting against choice–the choice to earn less, and apparently, be discriminated against in the workplace for making an unfortunately poor choice in employer.  The logic, or lack thereof, is astonishing.

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes equal pay legislation.

But as Kate Kelly pointed out, this kind of thing is hardly new.  American culture continues to insist that women were “given” the right to vote.  Of course women were not given anything.  They demanded the right.  They fought for the right and they would not quit until it was theirs.

Contrary to what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may think, the fight is far from over.  Women still face persistent and pernicious discrimination in the workplace and the Equal Rights Act remains a dream and not a reality.  Women continue to face unequal access to health care and reproductive autonomy remains under attack.  So on this important day marking a significant step in the right direction in the rights of women, let’s honor those who got us here by not giving up on all those achievements yet to be realized.

photo courtesy of dbking via Flickr


Carole K.
Carole K7 years ago

What we "give" with the right hand we take back with the left hand! Just yet another way of denying women true quality under the law. More good old BOY tactics from the US Chamber of Commerce. Testosterone running in your blood does not render you superior to the other 50% of the population. I guess I have to be feminist & fight until I die!!!

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

So why is it that 2 RN's, one male, one female, can graduate with honors in college, from the same college none the less, and go apply at the same place of employment, and the guy automatically makes more, sometimes as much as a 20 year female RN. And this is a choice that women make? Seriously?

Okay, so a man gets married, his wife gets pregnant. Does this mean he's automatically entitled to an extra raise to support his growing family? If it's not, then something is sourly wrong.

Heather D.
Heather D7 years ago

Women do not get distracted as do men. Women are multi-tasking, hard working, intelligent, focused, human beings. I want to see a man cook dinner,make lunch, prepare breakfast, clean the house, wash the clothes, drop the kids off, go to work, put up with men gawking at them, making them feel like less of a person, come home take care of everyone else but themselves, do everything all over again, all with grace and fulfillment knowing that everything and everyone is taken care of. No instead sit on the couch or complain about how tired you are....give me a break! Is this really still an issue? Women can and do ALOT more that men and without expecting pity, sympathy, or anything else in return, because it has to be done, and we can't wait for the men to do it right? Well WE HAVE CAME A LONG WAY BUT WE HAVE GOT MUCH FURTHER TO GO!

Nikki Tee
Nikki Tee7 years ago

Yes, it's true by Union women are underpaid, my mom was in union head of the family because she was a woman she was paid less, at that time man were head of the family, so was she. I saw the score pay as a child and asked why?
I never had a Union job, you have to pay the sob for what? I understand the mentalaty when stores close not wanting Union=Mafia driven poacher in your pocket. If I do good work in a "normal" situation I get renumerated accordinly, It is also true management wants to get away with the cheapest dollard they can get nowadays,.

Shar W.
Shar W7 years ago

After all these years, I get so FED UP with this kind of drivel!

So much for "You've come a long way, baby...."

Back to the fight!

Karen Tucker
Karen Tucker7 years ago

Women have the GOD-GIVEN right to earn THE SAME PAY as men - - Thank God for the Equality Movement! Women are NOT beneath men, as SOME men like to think we are!

Philippa P.
Philippa P7 years ago

The one place women get paid the same is in a Union. In a union position, the pay is specified at a certain level. It doesn't matter who fills that position (young, old, male, female, short, tall, whatever), that person gets paid X number of dollars for doing the job.

ruth a.
ruth a7 years ago

Go, Linda W.!!

Ronda Taylor
Ronda T7 years ago

This is still a tragedy. A never ending, man controlling tragedy. I'm in no way sexist, but since I was born a 'girl', I've seen and felt nothing but oppression. Whether it was that I was the ONLY girl in my class for three years in grade school or the only girl in my city who had a degree in Automechanics and actually wanted it to how much I didn't get paid with the most amount of expierence on the job! Whether we're too pretty or too smart, whether we're too educated (which I didn't even know was possible) or too nice, we are "under" everything! It's sick, it's wrong and maybe we should 'burn' something more than BRA's now!!

Geiczné G. G.

Vannak férfiak és vannak nõk, akik azt hiszik, azért születtek erre a világra, hogy fárasszanak másokat. Ilyenek azok is ,akiknek a nõk választójoga nem természetes dolog. Pedig a világ legtermészetesebb dolga, akár minden más. Annak kell lennie, akár tetszik, akár nem. Na és hogy azonos munkáért, azonos fizetést? Micsoda nõi eretnekség, nem igaz?