Carroll County Times Opinion

Another blow to fair pay [Editorial]

The successful filibuster Monday by Senate Republicans of the Paycheck Fairness Act is yet another blow to women's fight for equal pay in the workforce.

The bill is an update to the Equal Pay Act, passed more than 50 years ago, that would close loopholes in the law, create incentives for employers to comply with the law and strengthen enforcement efforts.


The U.S. Census Bureau says that women who work full time make on average only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The gap is larger for minorities.

On its website, the National Partnership for Women and Families notes that, "In the health care and social assistance industry, women are paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to men. In manufacturing, just 73 cents. In retail trade, 76 cents. And in educational services, women are paid 86 cents for every dollar paid to men. Across all industries, women are paid lower salaries than men."


The group cites a national survey done in January by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and The Feldman Group, Inc. which showed 49 percent of likely voters polled believe the wage gap has a major impact on the U.S. economy as a whole and 68 percent favor policies that would address gender discrimination. Sixty-two percent of those polled said they supported the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Given the research, the documented statistics on pay inequality and the majority public support for passing the bill, it is difficult to comprehend Republican obstructionism. Among their stated, concerns, Republican have said they worry passing the bill would discourage businesses from hiring women out of fear of lawsuits, but the claim is essentially unsupported. Plus, if businesses are ensuring equal pay regardless of gender, then there would be no concern of any lawsuit alleging unfair pay practices.

Republicans have blocked passage of the bill four times since 2011.

The National Partnership for Women and Families says at the rate progress is being made on this issue, today's working women won't see equal pay in their working lives.

"If change continues at the same slow pace as it has during the last 50 years, it will take nearly 50 more years – until 2058 – for women and men to finally reach pay parity," the group says.

The fact it is 2014 and Republicans can't support equal pay for women is bad enough. The idea of having to wait another 50 years is unfathomable.