Senate Republicans recently voted against further closing the gap in gender income inequality by overturning the Paycheck Fairness Act, even though national figures show that women still earn about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.
“Apparently,” said Organizing for Action’s Lindsay Siler in a statement, “some members of Congress don’t think addressing this issue is necessary. In fact, there are some people who don’t believe a gender pay gap exists. But as President Obama said last week, ‘It’s not a myth; it’s math.'” In the meantime, Obama has taken action to at least lessen the gap where he can.
In his weekly address, he said: “Most lower-wage workers in America are women. So I’ve taken executive action to require federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees at least $10.10 an hour. I ordered a review of our nation’s overtime rules, to give more workers the chance to earn the overtime pay they deserve.” He’s also pushed to improve female pay at the White House.
According to the Daily Beast, despite nefarious Republican number-crunching, Obama’s staff is not only made up of equal numbers of men and women, but tailored pay raises have increased women’s pay to an average of $62,000 a year. That’s 88 percent of what men at the White House earn, which isn’t equal yet, but better than the national average of 77 percent. Francine Blau, a professor of economics at Cornell University, has authored studies on the gender pay gap in the United States.
She says that so many unknowns remain about why women continue to earn less than men, such as: “Why are women segregated and why do they continue to be? Or women who have difficulty being hired or face a chilly environment and don’t stay. Representation in [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields is another important issue. These are all areas of concern, and anti-discrimination legislation has something to contribute.” Unfortunately, Obama said in his last weekly address, Republicans are dead-set against answering any of these questions, since doing so will cut into the bottom line:
“House Republicans won’t vote to raise the minimum wage or extend unemployment insurance for women out of work through no fault of their own. The budget they passed this week would force deep cuts to investments that overwhelmingly benefit women and children – like Medicaid, food stamps and college grants. And of course, they’re trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the 50th or so time, which would take away vital benefits and protections from millions of women. “I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen. Because we do better when our economy grows for everybody, not just a few. And when women succeed, America succeeds.”
[Image courtesy of the White House]