- The question of how to treat women in the workplace has been tripping up America for years. Dolly Parton probably said it best in her 1980 hit, "9 To 5": "Workin' 9 to 5/What a way to make a livin'/Barely gettin' by/It's all takin' and no givin' /They just use your mind/And they never give you credit/ It's enough to drive you crazy If you let it."
- In 1998, Lily Ledbetter sued her longtime employer Goodyear claiming that she had been denied pay raises at her job as a supervisor at a plant because of her sex. She only discovered the pay inequities after receiving an anonymous note. Her case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost, but it inspired the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which passed in 2009, signed by President Obama just as he was taking office.
- With the idea in mind that information is power when it comes to fair pay, today Obama will sign an executive order that bars federal contractors from taking punitive action against employees who share salary information.
- In a move to make it the week of the women, Senate Democrats will bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor, which would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who inquire about or share wage information with another employee.The bill has already failed to make it through the chamber twice.
- While Democrats are having a women-centric week, Republicans are using the opportunity to hit the White House on gender issues. A February study by the The American Enterprise Institute that points out female staffers at the White House make a median salary of $65,000 while the men's median salary is $73,729 is making the rounds. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded that women fill more lower-level positions, bringing down their median salary, but that “Men and women in equivalent roles here earn equivalent salaries. ... Some of the most senior positions in the White House are filled by women, including national security adviser, homeland security adviser, White House counsel, communications director, senior adviser, deputy chief of staff.”
- It hasn't necessarily been a banner week for Republicans and women, though. On Fox News Sunday, the ex-CIA director under George W. Bush, Michael Hayden, called Senator Diane Feinstein"emotional" in her demand that the agency release reports about interrogation tactics used during "the war on terror." Even the Fox host knew that was a no-no. Progress!
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