A Latina employee must work for 22 months in order to earn as much as a white man doing the same job for a year. This is the most extreme case of gender-based wage disparity. The income gap between men and women has been slowly closing in the past decades, but progress should have been much faster if it were not for the reiterated failure of Congress to pass laws addressing the issue.
Between 1997 and 2015 the Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced as many as 10 times in Congress, offering specific solutions to close the pay gap which is at 79% nationally – 54% for Hispanic women. Among them, the bill – a continuation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, – banned retaliation against workers who share information about wages; put the burden of proof on the employer to demonstrate that there is no discrimination in pay gap cases, and offered training to women to better negotiate with their employers.
Each and every time the bill was blocked by the Republicans. What happened in 2014 is a good example. In that case, the GOP opposed the bill because they could not add such amendments as eliminating Obamacare, approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and making work hours more flexible in order not to pay overtime.
As a result, it’s not surprising that there is also a gender gap in political preferences, in which women favor the Democrats. In the case of this bill, Republicans failed to recognize the wage problem of women, and contaminated a simple labor law with everything they despise about the White House. And then they have the nerve of accusing the Democrats of demagoguery about this issue to win the women’s vote. It’s actually the GOP who is losing it thanks to that attitude.
It is said that the income gap is due to the different life options that men and women choose. But what’s important is that there are certain rules in place, such as wage transparency and employee protection against job discrimination and retaliation.
Women and men are partners, and they deserve at least the same valuation in the job place.