Talking Points for the “Talking Points For Women’s Pay Equity”

talking points

The following “Top 10 Reasons for the Wage Gap,” posted by the National Committee on Pay Equity, no doubt serve as talking points for a lot of women’s pay-equity advocates. Thus, examining and addressing each of them is important.

First I display the “top 10 reasons” exactly as they appear at NCPE’s site, so that you may read them without the interference of my comments. I then show them again along with my responses to each in red italics.

Top 10 Reasons for the Wage Gap

1: Wage Secrecy Hurts Women

Part of the problem is that wage data are largely kept secret in America, so women and minorities can be underpaid without knowing it. Employers frequently have policies that forbid workers from discussing their salaries, even though these policies are unfair and sometimes unlawful. Yet corporate cultures continue to intimidate workers by making it taboo to discuss salary, even among trusted co-workers.

In addition, because women often don’t know what a job truly pays, she can undervalue herself when negotiating a new salary (and that can label her as an underachiever). So not knowing about wage discrepancies can perpetuate them.

2: Suing is Not a Practical Remedy

Taking an employer to court under the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, or appropriate state laws is an option out of reach for many women. “I don’t have $250 for an initial consultation with an attorney,” said one woman who contacted NCPE. Because awards are severely limited in Equal Pay Act cases, there is a lack of incentive for attorneys to accept cases.

In addition, pursuing an equal pay case can wreak havoc on the personal lives and finances of the plaintiffs. Employers often fight back aggressively and ruin an employee’s credibility as they seek to defend the company. Retaliation against women who file claims is common. NCPE has talked with plaintiffs who say their supervisors have turned hostile, their offices were moved to undesirable locations, that negative letters appeared in their personnel files, that their gynecological medical records were subpoenaed in an attempt to intimidate them, or that they were fired outright. This kind of treatment can last years while a case weaves its way through the legal process. Even if a woman wins her Equal Pay Act case, she may be labeled a troublemaker and have a hard time finding another job within the industry.

3: When You Take Home Less, You’ll Stay Home More

Given their lower earnings, women are usually the parent who takes time off to raise small children. That means they are out of the workforce for a few years, which lowers their earnings when they return.

But not all women are taking time off – many families rely on two paychecks and cannot afford for one parent to stay home. A 1992 study by the international executive search firm Korn/Ferry found that, of women in senior management positions in Fortune 1000 industrial and 500 service companies, only a third had taken a leave of absence, and most took fewer than six months off.

Shouldn’t families be able to have pay equity and children?

4: Even if They’re Equal In Value, Women’s Jobs Pay Less

Sometimes the jobs dominated by women in a company are not valued in the same way that men’s jobs are. Studies have shown that the more women and people of color fill an occupation, the less it pays. Using a point factor job evaluation system, the state of Minnesota found that the “women’s jobs” paid 20 percent less on average than male-dominated jobs, even when their jobs scored equally on the job evaluation system. (Pay equity adjustments were phased in over four years at a cost of 3.7 percent of overall payroll.)

5: Market Forces Are Not Eliminating Discrimination

Some say market forces will eliminate salary inequities, yet it has been 41 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law and 40 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. Still, discrimination exists. If we had relied on market forces to implement fairness, we never would have needed the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Market forces do not overcome bias in the workplace. Bigoted employers will pay more to work with white people, for example. Even Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that too often, companies practice discrimination, which hurts America’s economy.

6: Discrimination is Intangible, But It’s There

Discrimination is almost never found in the form of a smoking gun – like the Texaco tapes, for example, in which senior executives at the company were heard making racial slurs. Instead, discrimination takes a more subtle yet pervasive form. For example, in the class action sex-discrimination suit filed against Merrill Lynch, female employees complained that the accounts of retiring employees, walk-ins, and other lucrative networking opportunities were steered towards the men in the company. Another typical concern is that women are not offered career shaping assignments or spots on important committees. NCPE often hears from women who say there is an “old boys network” or glass ceiling at work. When women have trouble advancing, in a company, they can’t gain the experience needed to lead.

7: Old Stereotypes Die Hard

In this day and age, women are still told they don’t make as much as the men because the men have families to support. Women are not working for pin money. They are supporting America’s families. As one plaintiff recounted, a manager told her, “You don’t need pay equity, you’re married.” There are also stereotypes about what kind of work is appropriate for women, which hinder women’s advancement in some fields currently dominated by men.

8: Not all Jobs are Open to Women

Over half of all women are concentrated in the broad categories of sales, clerical, and service jobs. Women can have a hard time breaking into the male-dominated jobs, as evidenced through Department of Labor audits of federal contractors. For example, in 1999, Berkline Corporation and its parent company, Lifestyle Furnishings International, agreed to pay $300,000 in back pay for refusing to hire women as woodworkers. Kohler Corporation, a national plumbing hardware manufacturer in Wisconsin, agreed to pay nearly $900,000 to 2000 women who were not hired because of their gender. When women do break into male-dominated jobs, sometimes they experience hostile work environments and find little support for their presence there.

9: Companies Fail to Address Unfair or Haphazard Pay Practices

Why won’t employers address the issue on their own? Perhaps they are worried about future liability. Part of it may be psychological — many employers don’t want to believe they are discriminating or that they have tolerated discrimination. But because our socialization in America is not free from sex or race bias, it can lead to undervaluing women and minorities on the job. Employers need to put their fears aside. Private sector compensation experts can help to develop a fair pay system that is phased in quietly over time. A written pay policy will show workers that the system is based on objective criteria.

10: Current Laws Are Not Strong Enough

Put simply, current laws prohibiting wage discrimination need to be strengthened. The Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are important laws, but they are hard to enforce, and legal cases are extremely difficult to prove and win. Because enforcement of the laws is complaint driven and most of the information needed to prove a complaint is held by employers, these laws lack the ability to completely rid America of discriminatory pay practices. In addition, the Equal Pay Act does not allow women to file class-action lawsuits, and it provides very insubstantial damages.

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Although many statements in the “Ten Reasons” may initially sound plausible and reasonable, they don’t hold up under the closer look I give them in the bracketed and italicized red text (except for the links to Web sites).

Note: There is not now, nor has there ever been, the wage discrimination as described by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE). But hiring discrimination has existed, and here and there continues to exist, against both sexes (essentially making hiring discrimination a moot point morally). NCPE seems not to recognize or accept this fact.

Top 10 Reasons for the Wage Gap

1: Wage Secrecy Hurts Women

Part of the problem is that wage data are largely kept secret in America, so women and minorities can be underpaid without knowing it. [“Can” be underpaid? So can men. It’s not a gender thing. As a man, I was once paid less than another man hired six months after I was to do the exact same white-collar job. (See “Will the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Help Women?”) White-collar, non-union employers often pay more for someone they see as being a better investment, especially if that someone is a person they want to woo from a competitor. But why would a profit-obsessed, highly competitive employer even consider thinking about paying men more than women for the exact same work? Paying men more is the highly uncompetitive path to going out of business.Employers frequently have policies that forbid workers from discussing their salaries, even though these policies are unfair and sometimes unlawful. [Unfair? By whose standard? Sometimes unlawful? When are they lawful and when are they unlawful? Why haven’t you found out exactly when they are unlawful, how they are unlawful, and told the impacted women to sue? Tell us specifically which employers have these “unlawful” policies? Why haven’t you named them and posted their names on your web site to warn women? Wouldn’t that be a better service than merely stirring up anger?] Yet corporate cultures continue to intimidate workers by making it taboo to discuss salary, even among trusted co-workers. [Here you come very close to admitting that men, too, can be affected. Because you do not understand how “corporate cultures” are ruled by necessary competitiveness, you do not understand why they have confidentiality policies, which can adversely affect male employees as often as female.]

In addition, because women often don’t know what a job truly pays… [“Often” don’t know? How often? Where? Which employers? Name them. How many women accept a job before learning how much it pays? Men, too, often don’t know what a job “truly” pays – until the employer makes an offer. And so a job “truly” pays what an employer offers. If a woman doesn’t like what’s offered, she can end the interview and walk away, just as men can: no one does anything without a pay-off. (Shock for you: more women than men, because men are more often providers and women more often supported, are able to walk away from a job and pay they don’t like. Men as a group are more under their employer’s thumb than women.) See Taking Apart the Sex-Bias Class-Action Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart; by the way, Wal-Mart employs far more women than men, but no one talks about this hiring discrimination against men, only about Wal-Mart’s “pay discrimination against women;” that’s because women’s advocates apparently think a woman who is hired in at low pay is more of a tragedy than a man who is not hired and has no pay!]she can undervalue herself when negotiating a new salary (and that can label her as an underachiever) [Yes, it can label her that, but in fact does it? Where is the URL link to the results of your “underachiever” study? If she “undervalues” herself in a tough economy and asks for lower pay than the men receive, she may secure for herself a job better than can a man who overvalues himself. I’m pretty sure some people ask for a low salary to induce an employer to hire them. But tell me how she “values” herself: in the job market, her value, like any man’s, is determined by what an employer is willing to pay. When you “sell” yourself to an employer — which is what you do when applying for a job — it’s like selling your home; your home’s value is only what someone is willing to pay for it, regardless of how valuable you think it is.]. So not knowing about wage discrepancies can perpetuate them. [What “discrepancies”? Name the employers that perpetuate them. Again, if one doesn’t know wage discrepancies exist, how can one say “not knowing about them perpetuates them”?]

2: Suing is Not a Practical Remedy

Taking an employer to court under the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, or appropriate state laws is an option out of reach for many women. [How many is “many”? Why no linked-to study showing how many? But at least there’s one, who said:I don’t have $250 for an initial consultation with an attorney,” said one woman who contacted NCPE. [Did you know that many, if not most, attorneys give free half-hour consultations? In any case, this one woman does not constitute proof of anything on a worth-while scale. To file a claim with the EEOC, no attorney is needed, as the EEOC does the investigating and resolving.] Because awards are severely limited in Equal Pay Act cases, there is a lack of incentive for attorneys to accept cases. [So no attorneys at all accept these cases? Why no linked-to study showing this? Filing claims with the EEOC is free. Nevertheless, “In fiscal 2009, only 1% of charges filed with the EEOC included an Equal Pay Act claim. Of all sex-based discrimination claims filed under Title VII, only 5.4 percent in 2008 were found to have “Reasonable Cause”*. Would a new equal-pay bill provide funding to pay for women’s attorneys? How well would that sit with other lawsuit filers?]

In addition, pursuing an equal-pay case can wreak havoc on the personal lives and finances of the plaintiffs. [Yes, it can, as can happen with anyone filing a suit. Havoc can also visit the small employer defending against an equal-pay casewhich is why many companies settle instead of battling what they think is a wrong claim. At the Senate hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act, Jane McFetridge — she speaks at 01:51 in the video — in Lewis LLP in Chicago, says at 01:57 (one hour and 57 min.), “Many companies throw in the towel early on to avoid” the costs of litigation in defensible cases. You border on implying that when, say, a female secretary demands pay equal to the company truck drivers’, the company should roll over and raise her pay;but why didn’t she apply for a truck driver job?Employers often fight back aggressively [yes, because unequal-pay claims are often aggressively wrongand ruin an employee’s credibility as they seek to defend the company. Retaliation against women who file claims is common. [How common? Where is the link to your study?NCPE has talked with plaintiffs who say their supervisors have turned hostile, their offices were moved to undesirable locations, that negative letters appeared in their personnel files, that their gynecological medical records were subpoenaed in an attempt to intimidate them, or that they were fired outright. This kind of treatment can last years while a case weaves its way through the legal process. Even if a woman wins her Equal Pay Act case, she may be labeled a troublemaker and have a hard time finding another job within the industry.[Again, where are the links to reports and studies proving the veracity of your claims?]

3: When You Take Home Less, You’ll Stay Home More

[Obviously you’re referring to married women who burden their husbands. Single women, especially those who plan not to marry, do not “stay home more;” instead, many try to move up if they have low pay — which raises the question of why don’t low-paid married women do the same. That’s why single women earn nearly as much as men. The low-paid married woman who has no children and quits work instead of acquiring job skills to move up has a male equivalent: the man who stops doing housework because he knows his wife will take up the slack.]

Given their lower earnings, women are usually the parent who takes time off to raise small children.[Given their higher earnings, men are usually the parent who isn’t given that option and can’t take time off from raising the income that permits his wife to stay at home and raise the children. See “Women Belong at Home With the Kids.”That means they are out of the workforce for a few years, which lowers their earnings when they return. [Millions of women still deliberately choose low-paid work because they want to be the parent who takes time off to raise the children.]

But not all women are taking time off — many families rely on two paychecks and cannot afford for one parent to stay home.[So when a wife is able to stay home, it’s because her husband gives her that option, which is an option derived from affluence in a wealthy nation.] A 1992 study by the international executive search firm Korn/Ferry found that, of women in senior management positions in Fortune 1000 industrial and 500 service companies, only a third had taken a leave of absence, and most took fewer than six months off. [Here’s a similar, much more recent related study: According to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women, stay-at-home wives, including those who are childless, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN August 2008 report at http://tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier…. at http://tinyurl.com/qqkaka.)]

Shouldn’t families be able to have pay equity and children? [I’m hardly an economist, but this is pure nonsense.]

4: Even If They’re Equal In Value, Women’s Jobs Pay Less

[Equal in value to whom? To pay-equity advocates? The value that these advocates put on a job is not necessarily mine or somebody else’s. The only relevant value, as I implied earlier, is the employers’. To an employer, all jobs at his/her company are equal in value; to understand this, see my commentary about comparable worth in “An In-depth Look at ‘Pay Equity’ For Women.” Sometimes the jobs dominated by women in a company are not valued in the same way that men’s jobs are. [See immediately above; already answered.] Studies have shown that the more women and people of color fill an occupation, the less it pays. [Wrong. Which sex dominates a job does not determine the job’s pay; it’s the other way around: the pay determines which sex dominates; advertise a job at $18,000 a year, and the vast majority of applicants will be women who are supported by husbands who are unable to accept $18,000 because they are “priced out” of lower-paying, less-stressful jobs by their provider-role expectations, expectations which are imposed as much by women as by men. By the way, black men earn the same as white men in the same jobs — just as women do — so you have no need to say “women and people of color;” get off minorities’ coattails and just say “women.” ] Using a point factor job evaluation system, the state of Minnesota found that the “women’s jobs” paid 20 percent less on average than male-dominated jobs [see immediately above], even when their jobs scored equally on the job evaluation system. [What job evaluation system are you talking about besides the one rigged by feminist activists?](Pay-equity adjustments were phased in over four years at a cost of 3.7 percent of overall payroll.) [Is this to make us believe women’s pay equity can be had cheaply? Where’s the link to verify your percentage?]

5: Market Forces Are Not Eliminating Discrimination [This implies employers stubbornly put their companies at risk all for the pleasure of paying men more than women for the exact same work.]

Some say market forces will eliminate salary inequities, yet it has been 41 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law and 40 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. [The “inequities” will persist as long as both women AND men continue basing their job choices on their male-provider/female-providee roles.] Still, discrimination exists. If we had relied on market forces to implement fairness, we never would have needed the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act [The problem is that you don’t always know what fairness is: just because black Americans see employment discrimination, it doesn’t mean women have seen it any more than men have; see the above link about Walmart]. Market forces do not overcome bias in the workplace. [Of course they don’t, to you, because you cannot get beyond thinking bias is the sole and complete cause of the wage gap. Blindly clinging to this, you cannot reflect on other causes no matter how well posited they are by economic experts.] Bigoted employers will pay more to work with white people, for example. [I don’t even know what this means; I’ll assume you mean that some employers will pay a white worker more because of their bigotry. No doubt bigoted employers exist, but they’re not stupid: they’re not going to hire an equal number of whites and blacks in the same jobs and pay the whites more, because pretty soon they’ll realize that they will be more competitive by paying the whites the same as the blacks; in a down economy, employers are more likely to be motivated to retain the worker getting the lower pay. The reality is that bigots don’t hire minorities in the first place, so your statement doesn’t make sense. That’s hiring discrimination, not wage discrimination; the two are different.] Even Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that too often, companies practice discrimination, which hurts America’s economy. [Alan Greenspan is not a discrimination tracker. If he has proof of discrimination, he must know which employers are guilty and so why hasn’t he reported them? Where is your link to Greenspan’s study? Or is that just his opinion?]

6: Discrimination is Intangible, But It’s There [If you know it’s there, where exactly is it? It has to be tangible for you to know it’s there. I’m reminded of people who believe in ghosts: “You can’t see, hear, feel, or smell ghosts, but I know they’re there!”]

Discrimination is almost never found in the form of a smoking gun — like the Texaco tapes, for example, in which senior executives at the company were heard making racial slurs. [Racial slurs are not the same thing as pay discrimination: an exec who slurs blacks would jeopardize his company’s profits and lose investors if he paid whites more than blacks for the same work.] Instead, discrimination takes a more subtle yet pervasive form. For example, in the class action sex-discrimination suit filed against Merrill Lynch [see the lawsuit against Walmart to understand some of the reasons class actions are filed, i.e., to create unions], female employees complained that the accounts of retiring employees, walk-ins, and other lucrative networking opportunities were steered towards the men in the company. [So Merrill Lynch spent thousands of dollars hiring and training these women only to have them do little more than hang around the office? (According to a report dated March 30, 2010, only three women filed the suit, still unresolved. Remember: “For many years, wage discrimination claims brought under Title VII have not been prevalent.” Remember also: In a study of over 338,000 EEOC cases, only “5% or 10,220 cases received a ’cause’ finding.” What you don’t know, because you’re ignorant about men’s experiences (see how men are punished for being less emotional at work than women), is that some of the complaints leveled by the women are also complaints often made by men; the way women are treated by men is often the way men are treated by men; the only difference is that women are encouraged to formally complain about “sexism” and men are encouraged to keep complaints to themselves. Warren Farrell, a long-time gender-issues researcher, writes in his “Why Men Earn More”: “Men who claim to be victims are called whiners and thought of by both sexes as wimps and losers. This keeps their mouth shut.”] Another typical concern is that women are not offered career-shaping assignments or spots on important committees. [Show me the study proving how often this happens, a study that is objective and carried out by impartial researchers, not by biased groups with agendas, such as the National Organization for Women and the American Association of University Women. How many women are not offered these assignments and committee spots? And which women at which companies, etc.?] NCPE often hears from women who say there is an “old boys network” or glass ceiling at work. [I strongly suspect that the women reporting to NCPE are deeply rooted in an NCPE-fueled anti-male bias (sexism) and thus cannot objectively evaluate an “old boys’ network,” a term born of contempt for men. Aside from that, both women and men often fault others when they feel slighted. So I wonder: How many women blame the “old boys’ network” for their own inability or lack of experience needed to rise in the ranks when they feel they should rise? Usually the “old boys” are, yes, older and more experienced than most of the women who are on the cusp of moving up through the company ranks but aren’t yet seasoned and experienced enough to become one of the “old boys.” Why would they block a seasoned, qualified woman if, in your words, they can get away with paying her 77 cents to the men’s dollar? Employing lower-paid women would be just the edge over competitors that “greed-driven” companies look for to win customer dollars.] When women have trouble advancing, in a company, they can’t gain the experience needed to lead. [As time passes, women will gain both the experience and seniority they need to advance.]

7: Old Stereotypes Die Hard [Indeed they do, and some of the hardest to die are stereotypes of men, including the “old boys’ network” stereotype kept alive by ideological feminists like those in NCPE. And by now, the most prevalent stereotype in the media is: women earn only 78 cents to men’s dollar for the same work; actually, this isn’t so much a stereotype as a lie, a lie that won’t die.]

In this day and age, women are still told they don’t make as much as the men because the men have families to support. [Who’s telling women this as a reason to keep women’s pay lower than that of men in the same jobs? Point to the survey. But here’s what’s true: Even today, men are still far more likely to be the provider and women are still more likely to be the supported spouse. Question: which group would we expect — should we expect — to earn more: providers or providees?] Women are not working for pin money. [Who besides you said they were?] They are supporting America’s families. [Yes, but they are outnumbered by men who support families. So your point is…? The need to support a family is not the reason people (mostly men) are paid more. Having a job that’s in demand is. Another reason is working many hours in a job — to support a family.] As one plaintiff recounted, a manager told her, “You don’t need pay equity, you’re married.” [Where’s the link to support this? Words, by the way, do not translate into lower pay for women, only the employer’s actual behavior of paying. All you’ve done here is tell us one manager’s personal opinion — assuming you’ve told the truth. Provide a copy of the court proceeding showing the result of the plaintiff’s case.] There are also stereotypes about what kind of work is appropriate for women, which hinder women’s advancement in some fields currently dominated by men. [And there are stereotypes about what kind of work is appropriate for men (especially in the world of children), such as nursery-school attendant, maternity-ward attendant, kindergarten teacher, elementary school teacher, dental hygienist… Then there is this stereotype with deadly consequences: women shouldn’t work in dangerous jobs, but dangerous jobs are perfectly okay for men, resulting in men having an occupational death rate about five times higher than women — a startling workplace gender gap about which I’m fairly sure you care not one whit. And if you don’t care about this death-and-injury gap, what right do you have to ask men to care about the wage gap?]

8: Not all Jobs are Open to Women [As stated above, not all jobs are open to men.]

Over half of all women are concentrated in the broad categories of sales, clerical, and service jobs. [Like most feminist activists, you employ the phrase “are concentrated.” Do you intend to suggest that when a woman applies for, say, an electrician’s job, she is told “no” and shunted off against her will — at gun point? — into a job in one of these categories? That must be what you mean; otherwise, wouldn’t you have said “over half of all women choose…” So why haven’t “over half of all women” filed employment discrimination lawsuits?] Women can have a hard time breaking into the male-dominated jobs, as evidenced through Department of Labor audits of federal contractors. For example, in 1999, Berkline Corporation and its parent company, Lifestyle Furnishings International, agreed to pay $300,000 in back pay for refusing to hire women as woodworkers. Kohler Corporation, a national plumbing hardware manufacturer in Wisconsin, agreed to pay nearly $900,000 to 2000 women who were not hired because of their gender. When women do break into male-dominated jobs, sometimes they experience hostile work environments and find little support for their presence there. [That last statement has no bearing on pay equity. Again, seeTaking Apart the Sex-Bias Class-Action Lawsuit Against Walmart.” While it is true that both women AND men have faced and continue to face job discrimination (wage discrimination is a different matter), what happens too often with women is what happened at Walmart, where six women made unsubstantiated claims which in turn their lawyers converted into claims for thousands of women). The Walmart case is one more reason that employers — including female employers! — are growing increasingly reluctant to hire women. Some employers calculate that their financial risk will be lower if they simply never hire women in the first place, rather than expose themselves to mind-numbingly expensive Walmart-type class action lawsuits pushed by greedy employees and lawyers who know they may be able, without having to prove their case, to shame businesses into offering huge settlements to avoid the even bigger litigation and loss-of-business cost. See Warren Farrell’s book “Why Men Earn More.” Also, some women, knowing they were in fact not discriminated against, sue for discrimination (or for other frivolous reasons) hoping to provoke a retaliation for which they can sue and often receive an award. This has happened. Yes, company muggers exist among women just as plentifully as among men.]

9: Companies Fail to Address Unfair or Haphazard Pay Practices [I realize you’re speaking in generalities, but please define an “unfair” and “haphazard” pay practice. Are you talking about women’s lower pay in the same jobs? Or lower pay in “similar” or “comparable” work — similar and comparable as defined by politically organized feminists, whose livelihoods through members’ dues often literally depend on portraying women as victims? Are you suggesting, by the way, that men have always been paid “fairly”? If so, why did men decades ago begin forming unions that were sometimes violent?]

Why won’t employers address the issue on their own? [A woman has had since 1964 the Equal Pay Act, and for several decades the EEOC, to resort to if she felt she was unfairly paid relative to men in the same jobs.] Perhaps they are worried about future liability. [Well, yes. As said, employers, even female employers, always worry about future liability when hiring a woman, including a sexual-harassment liability. But to your point, if an employer discovered an accidental wage disparity — in the same work — I can understand how he or she might not do anything lest the female employee, now armed with the evidence of unfairness, would then file a lawsuit that might blossom into a class-action based on nebulous findings of a systemic, “Walmart-type” of anti-female culture,” the news of which could ruin the employer’s reputation and drive the company out of business. By saying “Perhaps they are worried about future liability,” you suggest you are aware that draconian measures may await the employer accused of any unsubstantiated charge of discrimination.] Part of it may be psychological — many employers don’t want to believe they are discriminating or that they have tolerated discrimination. But because our socialization in America is not free from sex or race bias, it can lead to undervaluing women and minorities on the job. [Again, why would an employer pay men more than women for the same work, especially in economic downturns? Why not hire all women, pay them 78 cents to the men’s dollar, and beat the competition? If you think employers are in love with men, I have a bridge in New Earth to sell you.] Employers need to put their fears aside. Private sector compensation experts [read: feminist groups] can help to develop a fair pay system that is phased in quietly over time. A written pay policy will show workers that the system is based on objective criteria. [Forgive me for saying this, but when I hear a deeply ideological feminist say “objective,” I know for a fact she or he means “stacked in women’s favor.” The upshot of all this is: we feminists need to take the reigns of control away from employers.]

10: Current Laws Are Not Strong Enough [They will never be strong enough, from your view.]

Put simply, current laws prohibiting wage discrimination need to be strengthened. The Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are important laws, but they are hard to enforce, and legal cases are extremely difficult to prove and win. [Show me the studies from objective, non-partisan sources to substantiate this.] Because enforcement of the laws is complaint driven [Are you suggesting this: Instead of leaving it up to individual women to complain, there should be a government agency to review the pay documents of every employer in the country? And would I be presumptuous in saying this agency should be staffed with employees, necessarily in the hundreds if not thousands, who are schooled in feminist pay-equity theories?] and most of the information needed to prove a complaint is held by employers [why can’t a woman who’s in the same job as men ask one of the men to show her his paycheck? That would be all the information she needs, all other things being equal, such as seniority], these laws lack the ability to completely rid America of discriminatory pay practices. In addition, the Equal Pay Act does not allow women to file class-action lawsuits [maybe for good reason, considering what class-action suits have evolved into], and it provides very insubstantial damages. [Undoubtedly, what is insubstantial to you may be the opposite to someone else.]

[As a final point about your “Ten Top Reasons,” I repeat: where are your links to objective sources to validate your claims? These links would help you instill credibility in those who aren’t lock-step feminist ideologues.]

~~~~

CONCLUSION

Don’t women in fact sometimes experience hiring discrimination? Yes. Not every settled case is settled to avoid the greater expense of losing business to a bad rep and litigating to prove a plaintiff wrong. To wit: “According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Walmart’s London, Ky., Distribution Center denied jobs to female applicants from 1998 through February 2005. During that time period, the EEOC contends, Walmart regularly hired male entry-level applicants for warehouse positions, but excluded female applicants who were equally or better qualified. [I suspect women were excluded for the same reason they are excluded from direct-ground combat in the military: the belief that men are stronger. They were excluded also for the same reason men are excluded from jobs in the world of children because women are viewed as better suited. There’s still another reason: Walmart may think, like almost everyone else (including female managers) would think in Walmart’s shoes,“If anybody is going to get hurt in the warehouse, we want it to be men.” Such thinking springs from the “gender compassion gap,” the gap few talk about but which results from society’s desire to protect women more than men. This unequal protection is an old practice. Around 1908, states starting passing hours-limitations laws, pushed mostly by women’s groups, that barred employers from requiring women to work more than 10 hours a day. The laws forced employers to put only men in certain production jobs subject to last-minute supply orders. So began the segregation by sex of many jobs.] The EEOC alleged that Walmart regularly used gender stereotypes in filling entry-level order filler positions. Hiring officials told applicants that order-filling positions were not suitable for women, and that they hired mainly 18- to 25-year-old males for order filling positions, the EEOC said.” [Sadly, the hiring discrimination against men in Walmart’s sales departments is never addressed. Thus Walmart has the reputation of discriminating against women only.]

To put the gender wage gap in better perspective, see “The Next Equal Occupational Fatality Day is in 2020.” The year 2020 is how far into the future women will have to work to experience the same number of work-related deaths that men experienced in 2009 alone.

~~~~

Says Warren Farrell in his book Why Men Earn More:

Employers today often feel they are in a precarious relationship with their female employees. Will the woman submitting her employment file today be filing a lawsuit tomorrow? Why, when the gap in male and female pay is at its least, are women’s lawsuits against companies the most?

When there was no societal permission for divorce, husbands supplied women’s income for a lifetime, so a woman who wanted more income had only her husband to turn to. When divorces became more common, women were thrust into a world as foreign to them as diapers at 3 a.m. were to their husbands. The government eased the transition for women, in some ways becoming a substitute husband.

Instead of men and unions fighting the company, women and the government began fighting the company.

During the past quarter century, companies have found themselves the target of lawsuits as women who did not get promotions saw fewer women in top positions and automatically assumed that reflected ‘systemic’ discrimination.

A Fortune 500 company was being sued by a woman who didn’t get a promotion. The company hired a research company known for defending [emphasis Farrell’s] women to uncover the experiences and desires of its employees. A survey of 6,000 of its employees uncovered these revealing findings [as you read, think of why six women sued Wal-Mart in a class action]:

  • Nearly half the women said, if they had a choice, they would prefer to work part-time; only 18% of the men felt that way.
  • Only 5% of women clerks listed ‘executive’ as their ultimate aspiration. The men clerks were more than four times as likely to aspire to executive positions.
  • Overall, men were twice as likely as women to request promotions.
  • Women were 25% more likely to get the promotions they requested. (!)
  • Among the employees who were married, men were about 13 times as likely to perceive themselves as the primary breadwinner. [Emphasis by Male Matters]

These five findings are the direct result of today’s extant influence of the male provider role and the female providee role. If the roles were reversed, it would be women seeking more income and they in fact would be earning more.

Farrell continues:

[The above findings, together with men’s willingness to make more sacrifices to achieve their goals] create the most important corporate Catch-22: a company listening to women’s desires for fewer promotions, giving fewer promotions to women, and then being sued for giving fewer promotions to women. Yiddish has a word for this: chutzpah.”

________________________________

*Reasonable Cause defined by the EEOC:

EEOC’s determination of reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred based upon evidence obtained in investigation. Reasonable cause determinations are generally followed by efforts to conciliate the discriminatory issues which gave rise to the initial charge. NOTE: Some reasonable cause findings are resolved through negotiated settlements, withdrawals with benefits, and other types of resolutions, which are not characterized as either successful or unsuccessful conciliations.

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