LETTER: Repeal opens door to discriminationTo the Telegram: Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill April 5 repealing the state’s 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Senate Bill 202 — Act 219 — which allowed victims of workplace discrimination to seek damages in state courts.
To the Telegram:
Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill April 5 repealing the state’s 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Senate Bill 202 — Act 219 — which allowed victims of workplace discrimination to seek damages in state courts.
The Equal Pay Enforcement Act wasn’t just about women. It also offered protection from discrimination based on race, age, disability and other factors. Mainly, the repeal was enacted primarily in response to the large gap between men and women’s wages.
In 2009, Wisconsin ranked 36th in workplace gender parity — pay equality.
After the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, the gap was closing. Median female earnings rose by 3 percent from 2009 to 2010. Only four states had larger increases. Wisconsin jumped 12 spots in the earning parity ranking during that same time, from 36th to 24th of the 50 states. The law was working. Repealing the law removes the incentive employers have to make women’s pay equal to men’s.
Republican State Sen. Glenn Grothman made these statements about repealing the Equal Pay Act: “You could agree that money is more important to men.” He went on to say: “I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money conscious.”
Here are some facts about working women according to the National Partnership for Women:
• As a group, full-time working women in Wisconsin lose about $9,237,262,410 each year due to the wage gap.
• About 69 percent of working mothers in Wisconsin bring in more than one quarter of the families’ income.
• Women head 230,077 households in Wisconsin.
• About 30 percent of women-headed households in Wisconsin live below the poverty line. Eliminating the wage gap would provide critical income to 69,023 families living in poverty.
As a rule, a woman doing the same job as a man will earn 80 percent less. Think of the impact that has on a woman and her family over a lifetime.
We all know women who are working two jobs and quite possibly three jobs to provide for themselves and their families. I think of “Carmen,” a woman in her 60s who worked at a big box store from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and then went to work as a waitress from 7 a.m. a.m. to 2 p.m.
We know that money is just as important to women and that women have to be money conscious.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article April 12: “Reducing other options that employees have to challenge discrimination could mean discrimination against women and minorities is more likely to be tolerated in the workplace. That’s unacceptable.”
Call your senator and representative to voice your opinion.