During the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention, to settle a debate on how slaves would be counted to determine a state’s total population for constitutional purposes, delegates from southern and northern states reached “The Three-Fifths Compromise” that counted one African slave as 3/5s (60%) worth of a white man. By those numbers, America’s women in 2014 should consider themselves extremely fortunate and regale in the fact that even though Republicans succeeded in keeping them counted as a little over 3/4s (77%) the worth of a man, at least they are worth 17% more than indentured slaves at America’s founding. Republicans will never regard women as worthy of being counted as equal to men, but of course equality is something Republicans oppose as a matter of course whether it is for gays, minorities, or women Republicans will not allow to decide their own reproductive health choices or earn the same pay as a man doing the same work.
As expected, Republicans maintained their record of perpetuating pay inequity based on gender when Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act to keep women earning 77 cents on every dollar a man earns for the same job. Although Republicans concealed their patriarchal biblical belief that women are second class citizens and in subjection to Republican men who deemed they will work for less pay than a man, the result is that women are at the mercy of Republicans adhering to their longstanding opposition to women as equal to men.
Recently President Obama signed two executive orders to narrow the wage gap between men and women to no avail. One prohibits federal contractors from punishing workers who disseminate information about wages to prevent employers from concealing wage disparity favoring men, and he will direct the Labor Department to collect data from federal contractors detailing wages by gender; both directives are useless while pay inequality is still the law of the land. The President had urged Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that Senate Republicans just blocked and it was as much a waste of breath as pleading with Republicans to raise the minimum wage; apparently he had to try.
What the preponderance of Republican assertions about equal pay for equal work really told American women was to stop lying because according to conservatives there is no pay inequality and women and equal pay advocates are liars for claiming otherwise. Fox News insists there’s no such thing as pay inequity, and the Heritage Foundation said pay equity will hurt women working to support their families mired in poverty. Teabagger Jim DeMint’s organization claimed ”Equal pay and minimum wage: Two ways to hurt women in the workplace.” Republicans continue the stunning assertion that paying American workers more will hurt them financially, and it is supposed to give them cover to oppose overtime pay, raising the minimum wage, and to block any attempt at gender equality in pay. Texas Governor Rick Perry said the pay gap between men and women is “nonsense,” while Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called it “bogus.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called equality in pay “the left’s latest bizarre obsession” and accused Harry Reid of “blowing a few kisses to his powerful pals on the left.” McConnell thought he was being cute, but there is nothing cute about women earning 77 cents for every dollar as a man in the same job. However, McConnell is right about one thing, women are powerful and Mitch should fear that not all women suffer bible-inferiority complex or Stockholm Syndrome.
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (TX) said, “This whole thing is a transparent political campaign. It isn’t actually about solving problems, because the law of the land is already paycheck equity.” Cornyn is as big a liar as he is a patriarchal advocate because he just helped Republicans block the bill that would have made paycheck equity the law of the land and he knows it. Kansas Republican Representative Lynn Jenkins claimed “Democrats’ push for pay equity between men and women is “condescending . . . Some folks don’t understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it.” But according to Republicans they are not “extremely valuable” enough to deserve equal pay according to the second-class status bestowed on them by Republicans exercising freedom of religion to subject women to lower pay than men.
Pay inequity means women lose on average more than $400,000 in wages over the course of their working lives, and perpetuating lower pay for women serves the Republican crusade to drive more retirement age women into poverty. On average, women who retire at age 65 will realize 25% less in Social Security benefits than the average for a man, and it is the same regardless a woman has a private retirement account because their lifetime earnings are 23-25% less than a man at the current level of disparity. It will be much higher if Republicans eliminate the minimum wage, overtime pay, and successfully force salaried employees to work overtime for free; policies Republicans claim prevents poverty. It is important to remember that whether it is Republicans in Congress, conservative belief tanks, or the Koch brothers, they assert that if workers earn more they will be poorer, and millions of Republican supporters are convinced conservatives are right that more money to spend equals more poverty and rapid financial demise.
There are multiple studies by the American Association of University Women and many others showing the infamous “77 cents on the dollar” figure approximates the overall difference between men and women across all professions and all education levels; African-American and Latino women make 62% and 54% of a white man’s wages, respectively. Conservatives claim pay disparity is like comparing apples and oranges such as female teachers to male congressmen as if any Republican congressmen’s contribution to society is even a fraction of the worth any female teacher. However, that mindset is exactly what one expects from a patriarchal society still clinging to the bible thesis that women are less than a man and must subject themselves to a man’s will. Last week a Heritage Foundation panel said the “feminist movement” scammed women who are miserable getting paid for working when the only thing they really want is to get married, become birth machines, and spend their lives cleaning a man’s chamber pot. A recent poll found that unmarried women were unimpressed with Heritage’s bovine excrement and were likely personally affronted by Republican plans to push women into marriages. Over two-thirds of single women placed greater emphasis on policies to help women and children rise out of poverty and stunningly 24% supported Republican policies to marry off women, but they are likely good Christian women suffering Stockholm Syndrome and support their captor’s devious machinations to keep them under foot and out of the workforce.
The real issue for Republicans is not pay disparity, forcing retired women into poverty, or perpetuating patriarchal preference for men; although those are all contributing factors to why Senate Republicans blocked pay equity and continue waging a war on women. The real issue is that Republicans hate women because they believe they are fated by god to be subservient according to scripture and that aspect cannot be overstated. It drives Republican and the religious right’s opposition to women working, why they demand to make reproductive health decisions for women, and why they viciously attack teacher unions that are predominately women while never broaching extremely costly law enforcement, correctional officers, or firefighter unions because they are male-dominated jobs. It is also a major reason Republicans adamantly opposed the Affordable Care Act because it prohibits the insurance industry from charging higher premiums for insurance policies for women. It is also why Republicans and the religious right target Planned Parenthood for elimination because besides providing health screenings for women, it assists them to plan when they start their families and takes the control away from religious right Republican men.
Republicans are consummate bigots, and they hate women as much as they hate gays, minorities, and the poor. Although they regard women as only three-quarters of a man’s worth, women’s votes still count every much as any man; including those who are incensed their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters who are better educated and informed than men earn 25% less for the same job. That is the price women pay for living in a society controlled by patriarchal Republicans who adhere to the religious belief their male god gave them dominion over women, but it is a condition they can bring to a quick end if they exercise the true power and vote.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.