Today the Paycheck Fairness Act was voted down by the Senate. Not only did it not pass, but the Senate voted 58-41 against allowing it to even be debated. Who made up the 58 “no” votes? Republican senators – every single Republican senator (the party that spawned Sarah Palin who likes to pretend she doesn’t hate women), voted against paying women fairly. Why would they do this, when “issue #1 for women is economic security”? In the Huffington Post, Amy Siskind, has done an admirable job of skewering these misogynistic Senators, pointing out several who had previously voted for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (yes, this would-be legislation has been hanging around for a while).
Winners of Siskind’s “Paycheck Fairness Act Coward Awards” include write-in winner, Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins. Siskind even points the finger at Barack Obama himself, and his advisers who have previously been supportive of the Paycheck Fairness Act for failing to secure just two more votes. It sounds petty, but truthfully it is difficult to imagine that the President of the United States was not able to convince just two people to vote for this act. Dealmaking is the main business of being President (or Senator for that matter), so it would hardly have been the first time that the President tor his advisers considered giving a reluctant Senator something in return for his or her cooperation.
Most disappointing though, is that the only conclusion that can be drawn from this slap in the face by the Republican party is that they genuinely believe that a woman’s work is not worth as much as a man’s. That women are implicitly inferior to men. Women earn less than men from the moment they enter the workforce – before we get married or have children, and that wage gap only widens. It has been proved time and time again.
Without this Act, that would have given women the ability to openly discuss salary information without fear of reprisals, would have provided channels to right the wrongs done to women through discrimination every day, the wage gap – currently wide open with women earning 77% of their male counterparts salaries, not to mention missed opportunities for advancement – will stay gaping open, keeping women from achieving the same success as their male counterparts. Without this Act as a catalyst for genuine change, which has not been accomplished since the first equal pay legislation was passed forty years ago, it may never be closed.