Letter: Larchmont/Mamaroneck LWV Celebrates Equal Pay Day

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MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The Mamaroneck Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to mamaroneck@dailyvoice.com.

To the editor:

For thousands of years women were considered inferior to and even men’s property. Women weren’t paid for their labor. Women are making progress. Now women are only underpaid! It takes the average woman fifteen months of work to make as much as the average man makes in one year. That’s what we’ll be “celebrating” on Equal Pay Day – April 8, 2014.

Consider that more than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women and minorities continue to suffer the consequences of unequal pay.

According to a 2012 American Association of University Women study, college-educated women working full time over the course of a lifetime earn about half a million dollars less than their male peers.

The New York State Women's Equality Act and the federal Paycheck Fairness Act would advance equal pay by closing existing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act that allow employers to fire or reprimand employees who share wage information and by increasing damages in successful claims.

Fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy.

We need to create a workplace that is fair to women and minorities. Because for so many years women and minorities could only get hired for certain jobs – such as retail clerk, child care worker, nurse, orderly, teacher, food care worker, cook, – these jobs continue to be discriminated against in terms of pay. There is a societal bias that says, unconsciously, “if it can be done by women and minorities, it doesn’t require a lot of skill or responsibility.” Employers need to use a gender neutral job evaluation system. The Women's Equality Act and the pay equity bills that the New York State Assembly has championed and will be passing again on April 8, 2014 are steps in the right direction. Let your state senator know that you think women and minorities should be treated fairly in the workplace.

Elisabeth N. Radow, president
League of Women Voters of Larchmont/Mamaroneck

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Radow could use a different view.

In general, women not only live longer and enjoy better health than men, who die sooner and at a higher rate of the 12 leading causes of death, they also control most of consumer spending and most of the nation's wealth. Soon they will control even more.

"Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and husband." -http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

Sound like an oppressed group in need of yet another equal pay law?

I suspect that many if not most of women's advocates think employers are greedy profiteers who'd hire only illegal immigrants for their lower labor cost if they could get away with it. Or who'd move their business to a cheap-labor country to save money. Or replace older workers with younger ones for the same reason. So why do these same advocates think employers would NOT hire only women if, as they say, employers DO get away with paying females at a lower rate than males for the same work?

Here's one of countless examples showing that some of the most sophisticated women in the country choose to earn less while getting paid at the same rate as their male counterparts:

“In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/03/26/bil10326.htm

A thousand laws won't close that gap.

In fact, no law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap - tinyurl.com/74cooen), not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not the 1991 Glass Ceiling Commission created by the Civil Rights Act, not the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the thousands of company mentors for women, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is another feel-good bill that turned into another do-nothing law (political intentions disguised as good intentions do not necessarily make things better; sometimes they make things worse).... Nor will a "paycheck fairness" law work.

That's because women's pay-equity advocates, who always insist one more law is needed, continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

Despite the 40-year-old demand for women's equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women," stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. "In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at 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 tinyurl.com/qqkaka. If indeed a higher percentage of women is staying at home, perhaps it's because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working outside the home if they're going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman, as illustrated by such titles as this: "Gender wage gap sees women spend 7 weeks working for nothing" http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/cwgbaueysnsn/rss2/.)

As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Answer: Because they're supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home. (Far more wives are supported by a spouse than are husbands.)

The implication of this is probably obvious to most 12-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to, or is wrongly dismissed as irrelevant by, feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands' incomes vary, are more often able than husbands to:

-accept low wages
-refuse overtime and promotions
-choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do (The most popular job for American women as of 2010 is still secretary/administrative assistant, which has been a top ten job for women for the last 50 years. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/gender-wage-gap_n_3424084.html)
-take more unpaid days off
-avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (tinyurl.com/3a5nlay)
-work fewer hours than their male counterparts, or work less than full-time more often than their male counterparts (as in the above example regarding physicians)

Any one of these job choices lowers women's median pay relative to men's. And when a wife makes one of the choices, her husband often must take up the slack, thereby increasing HIS pay.

Women who make these choices are generally able to do so because they are supported — or, if unmarried, anticipate being supported — by a husband who feels pressured to earn more than if he'd chosen never to marry. (Married men earn more than single men, but even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they tend more than women to pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well.

"The more alarming wage gap might be the one between mothers and childless women: One recent paper (http://www.npr.org/2012/02/07/146522483/the-wage-gap-between-moms-other-working-women) found that women with kids make roughly 7 to 14 percent less than women without them." So why do organized feminists and the liberal media focus only on -- and criticize -- the wage gap between men and women? http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/the-mommy-track-myth/283557/

More in "Does the Ledbetter Act Help Women?" at http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/will-the-ledbetter-fair-pay-act-help-women/

See also:

"Feminists don’t want you to know how women help create the wage gap: Women 'want rich husbands, not careers'" http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/what-feminists-dont-want-you-to-know-women-want-rich-husbands-not-careers/

Excerpt:

“By the late 1990s, the proportion of women who were 'marrying up' had almost doubled to 38 percent. Similar patterns are seen across much of Europe, the US and Australia. Hakim said many women did not want to admit that they were looking for a higher earning partner. They even keep the fact secret from the men they are dating, Catherine Hakim said.”