Eliminate Wage Discrimination: Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

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Women have struggled for equality throughout human history, but especially since the early emergence of the private property and class division. For a long time, equal pay has been a major part of this struggle. Though women have succeeded in enacting laws that are supposed to protect this right, in the United States women are still paid less than men who have the same qualifications and carry out equal work. More still needs to be done.

The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) is the genuine pathway to eliminating pay discrimination. It illustrates ongoing inequality: Sec. 2-2 of the PFA points out, “Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work.” It will help in removing the legal obstacles that block women from regaining their rights to equal pay, those like the expiration date of filing the case of discrimination. It will help laws to efficiently represent justice. Shockingly, on November 17, the Senate failed to pass the PFA in a cloture vote.

If laws that protect women’s rights are out of date, or are weakened by the rapid changes in the overall social circumstances, an updating of these laws is essential and should be looked at as an urgent need. The PFA will fill one of the laws’ distressing gaps. It will inhibit penalties against workers who share the details of their compensations.

By stopping these penalties, PFA will help in preventing cases like the famous one of Lilly Ledbetter who discovered, after her retirement, that the Goodyear Company was paying her less than men in similar positions. She missed the case because she discovered that pay discrimination after the expired date of filing it. President Obama explained that PFA will let employees who are discriminated against regain their full loss without being stopped by the expiration date’s obstacle.

The PFA will also provide access that helps concerned authorities to safeguard pay fairness. Sec. 8 -1-B of the Paycheck Fairness Act demands the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to “issue regulations to provide for the collection of pay information data from employers as described by the sex, race, and national origin of employees.” All this, emphasizes the fact that updating the laws is important to fill in some gaps that might develop and those which were not taken in mind when issuing the old laws, which will be achieved by enforcing the PFA, and in the current order of society, it is the only way-out of pay discrimination against women.

It is worth mentioning that capitalism is the fundamental element of pay discrimination. Pay unfairness, in the main, is a major stream for the accumulation of capital and the base of the surplus value. This is the only explanation for the fact that women in America still suffer discrimination. Women work hard to be qualified to fulfill their commitments toward their families and the society, and accordingly, they deserve to get the same positions, jobs and equal pay. In a time of economic difficulties, women face a double suffering situation, and this unjust state worsens the impact of the recent recession on women and their families.

The fight against pay discrimination is a struggle toward ending the role of reaction in society. Besides the direct financial effects on them and their families, this discrimination has a latent impact on women’s concerns. It discourages some of them from majoring in fields like advanced science or engineering. Their choice of career may also be influenced by anti-women’s rights perceptions; that women don’t undertake important jobs. This blind notion is created by the same people who back discrimination against women and put them in this primitively driven cycle. So, we should march against this extreme rightism and push for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Indeed, equal pay for equal work is not only a women’s rights issue, but it is a basic right that should be maintained for every employee. Humans are appraised by their achievements and the contribution that they give to the society, which is mostly in the form of work. So, pay discrimination means a double standard of evaluating these humans, a break with equality. Also, to defend their rights the employees should be aware of them. In his Equal Pay Statement, President Obama points out that by bringing the PFA into law, employees should be informed about their rights.

In a capitalist society, pay equality can be achieved only through legal means. Updating the existing laws is a serious need to keep the equal pay right active and efficient. There is an arsenal of laws that covers the issue, but it is disabled by the laws’ gaps. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the current Equal Pay Act grants equal pay for equal work. This act also refers to Title VII, another legal base upon which people who are discriminated against can file their claims. Thus, updating the laws is the solution, and it will be implemented by passing and enforcing the PFA.

Photo: Lilly Ledbetter speaks out on paycheck fairness. (Courtesy AFL-CIO)

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  • "It is worth mentioning that capitalism is the fundamental element of pay discrimination."

    Hi!

    Actually, its the usage of economies/ownership (earn'n'deserve coupon system) that is the fundamental element of pay discrimination.

    Monetary discrimination is one hell of a subject, and I applaud you for taking it on. But, the Columbian Freemason pyramid scheme symbol is right there on the back of the USA dollar, and the USA gov is in a "district of Columbia". Do a Google image search for 'pyramid of capitalist'... made way back in what? 1917? We knew capitalism was a pyramid scheme way back then, but people signed aboard with glee just the same. Or were they forced-in with "climb aboard the free marketeers or starve"? i guess there are both volunteers and force-ins. But either way, pyramid schemes such as capitalism do not work without devices of herd control... and that's money and ownership... the tools of unfairness and monetary discrimination. Its epidemic levels in the USA... just like the acceptance of pyramiding as a sane way to operate, no matter how immoral, disgusting, and planet-killing. Abolish economies (money and ownership) and the whole disgusting thing dies in a heap on the floor... just like all childhood kid-crushing pyramids that we ever tried. Pyramids always collapse, and capitalism is no different. But the CAUSE of pyramid schemes such as capitalism... is the use of economies. Not one other creature on the entire planet... uses economies. Tells ya something, doesn't it? That's why I want it gone.

    Keep up the excellent scrutiny of capitalism Najat (and Lilly). Its not just the women... its minorities, lovers (as opposed to fighters), and also its we commune-ity loving anti-capitalists. We (communalists) don't want (equal) money, though. We want/need the greenbacks-or-notta blockades called pricetags... taken off of the survival goods. We want the 18 yrs olds to stop being "join the free marketeers or starve" extorted and threatened. We want the "pay up or lose your wellbeing" in the flavor of old Chicago mobs prior to Elliot Ness... stopped. We want USA courtrooms to get de-pyramided and stop dressing up like churches, too.

    If we MUST use money, then we need MANY types produced and distributed by MANY organizations... especially ones that don't involve pyramiding.

    Keep on truckin', Najat. You're on your way to blowing the lid off the biggest con/sham ever perpetrated. Yay America? Yeah right. Sheep farm. Empowerment-junkies festival. Professional dog turd painters, dressers, and perfumers. Keep peeling back the lies, Najat... and notice how the pretty little "everything is fine" cock'n'bull doll... gets stinkier and stinkier as you remove layers. Its just a giant, disgusting, immoral felony... well bought-into, eh? If you go into super-depression once you see just how huge and overwhelming the con/sham IS... hang in there... the vomiting will eventually stop and your heart and mind will try to protect you a bit. Been there. Keep in mind that pyramids ALWAYS collapse. You need not expose the con anymore... folks are slowly coming around. So, relax a bit, enjoy watching it flop in a giant pile, and be prepared to bandage (and bury) the kids who were on the bottom of the pyramid when she bit dirt. We're the lovers, not the fighters.

    Larry "Wingnut" Wendlandt
    MaStars - Mothers Against Stuff That Ain't Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists)
    Bessemer MI USA

    Posted by Wingnut, 12/16/2010 7:33am (7 years ago)

  • This is such an important issue. After the equal laws of the 1960s the pay gap narrowed, but since then there hasn't been much movement. Meanwhile women have become the majority of the workforce and almost two-thirds of working women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners -- though women also are disproportionately poor or stuck in low-wage jobs.

    This is also a civil liberties issue, because right now corporations can forbid employees from discussing how much they are paid, which may fuel a climate in which discrimination occurs.

    In addition, we have to start valuing the work women do do disproportionately more than men. Men who are afraid of equal pay should consider how their own mothers or sisters or daughters may be harmed by the gender wage gap...and in turn how that fact harms them to!

    Posted by Troy101, 12/15/2010 2:46pm (7 years ago)

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