Opinions: Stalled equality bill is indicative of nation’s woes

Maggie Kelso, Staff Writer

On Sept. 15, Senate Republicans succeeded in blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that attempts to work to close the gap between male and female wages in the workplace and do away with paycheck secrecy to make it more difficult for employers to get away with gender-discriminatory separations in wages. At present, women make roughly 77 percent of what men make annually, and this bill sought to bring equity to these numbers. Unfortunately, it was an unfavorable vote by GOP senators that pushed it to the sidelines. Even several female Republican senators voted against it.

Why is it that the GOP seems to think this bill isn’t a viable addition onto the Equal Pay Act of the 60s? Any opposition to this bill seems childish in comparison to what has been accomplished in the past with women’s workplace rights.

The GOP defends itself by saying that they fear discrimination will come to women on the front of hiring if companies have these rules imposed upon them, and argue that these issues are already discussed in the Equal Pay Act. In response, I add this statement: if companies fear women asking for more salary transparency on the basis of an addendum to this bill, then there is a severe issue with corporate culture in this country which warrants further guidelines to be set in place. You cannot use these two arguments to protect yourself because each disproves the validity or logic of the other. If the Equal Pay Act were being observed, then women would not be on average receiving less pay than their male counterparts who do equivalent work.

In reality, the fact that the GOP voted down this straightforward bill shows even more strongly how polarized our country has become. This is only one example of a greater problem that our state and national legislature is currently facing. The binary system of our government makes it difficult to push against the pressures of your own party without being seen as a “traitor” to the proverbial cause. As binaries are interdependent, the actions of one affect the abilities of the other.

This is just the same as the divide of male and female. The division of these sexes has historically been perpetuated for far too long and apparently, that is not about to change now. I won’t say that I don’t consider myself a feminist, because I do, but I will say that it is not solely because of my wish for the sexes to be held in equal rights that I find myself frustrated by this recent action. It is because it is indicative of the principal division in our culture, where reason goes out the window in order to uphold partisan loyalty. When it comes right down to it, there is no more apparent reason for this bill to have been voted off the island.

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