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   Cari Cristman, Executive Director of the Red State Women PAC responds to the talking point about women and equal pay, with apparently the first incoherent thought in her head by stating that women don’t need equal pay because we are just too “extremely busy” to think about it!  Beth Cubriel, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas tries to douse the firestorm, following Cristman’s comments, with apparently gasoline: “Men are better negotiators. I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

First of all, Cari, if women seem too busy it is because we earn much less than your White male colleagues, therefore it takes two and three jobs just to put food on the table! And the reason women work so many jobs at once is because the price of food is the same no matter who purchases it! Your statement sounds like we are just too blasé-busy to fight for equal pay, as if it were a shoe sale, or something, and it wouldn’t hurt us if we did not make it! Ridiculous! Why should we have to fight for it, anyway? I guarantee you women will take their rightful increase in pay anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is stop opening your mouth and start looking at your checkbook. Does it seem emptier to you? And Beth? As a woman who is benefitting from all the advancements made by liberal woman, your comment is simple-minded and naïve.

How is it even possible that these two women are “executive” to anything? Judging by their answers to the pay gap questions, I can see why they are executives in something to do with Republicans and all their male-led, “romantic paternalism,” whereby men create oppressive situations for women under the guise of “protecting us” ultimately from ourselves.

 “Romantic paternalism”  was the phrase coined by District Judge Frank Johnson in the Title VII (of the 1964 Civil rights Act) appellate case of Loreena Weeks v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company on March 4, 1969.  Ms. Weeks sued the company for being denied a well-deserved job within Southern Bell, a company she had worked with for many years, on the bases of sex-discrimination. The company claimed they denied her the job based on the main idea that women could not lift the “heavy” weight (thirty pounds) the job required and were merely trying to protect her.  In the end, the judge ruled in favor of Ms. Weeks citing, “Title VII rejects just this type of romantic paternalism as unduly Victorian and instead vests individual women with the power to decide whether or not to take on unromantic tasks.”  In other words, women did not need rules (in this case in the workforce) where men decided how women needed their “guidance” on how to protect us from ourselves. The judge’s ruling left it to women to decide for themselves, individually.

With the help and courage of Loreena Weeks women were able to establish the right to fair and equal opportunities in attaining employment and decide for themselves what they can and cannot do. Thanks to Title VII we were protected from “romantic paternalism.”

Is this same notion of “romantic paternalism” why we do not have equality in salary? That somehow these men (and the Cari’s and Beth’s who support them) should decide what is considered enough for us, out of their so-called protection for us? The Equal Pay Act, passed in 1963, should guarantee equal pay for equal work, but has become so open to interpretation of what “equal pay” is that enforcement is almost impossible. By the way, the wage gap is huge between men and women, with White women earning seventy-seven cents to every dollar a White man earns, women of Color earning sixty-four cents and Latinas coming in at fifty-five cents! Something is going on because between White men the pay is the same for the same work, plus we are not here discussing how men are paid less on any level! As a matter of fact, imagine the anger if it were only White men affected? Come to think of it, I only remember reading about the one time in the history of the U.S. where one group of White men oppressed another group of White men. I also remember reading about the American Revolution taking place as a result!

Clearly we are going to need some version of a revolution. There is already a push to pass “The Paycheck Fairness Act,” which would modernize the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by writing into the current law criteria eliminating the pay gap between men and women.

According to the ACLU:

The Paycheck Fairness Act would make critical changes to the law, including:
•    requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex;
•    prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about their employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages;
•    permitting reasonable comparisons between employees within clearly defined geographical areas to determine fair wages;
•    strengthening penalties for equal pay violations;
•    directing the Department of Labor to assist employers and collect wage-related data; and
•    authorizing additional training for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission staff to better identify and handle wage disputes.
As usual where women are concerned, the bill has failed to pass nationally, therefore, women need to go state-by-state, until it gains enough momentum to be considered on a larger scale. New Hampshire has led the charge and passed the bill in the Senate, 23-0, on March 13, 2014. Still, it needs approval of their House.

I would say what Cari and Beth believe is “sad” but that isn’t enough. I say what they believe is “BAD!” Bad for women, bad for children, bad for men, bad for the economy, bad for everyone’s health and bad for any promise of intellectual growth in the world, much less in this great nation of ours!  Women are already feeling the effects! (Read about the “wage gap” again).  In other words, women should get what is rightfully theirs.  We do NOT need your excuses or "romantic" nonsense as to why we do not have equal pay for equal work!

Originally posted to This Week in the War on Women on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, and Houston Area Kossacks.

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