COMMENTARY | According to The Ticket, President Barack Obama was hoping to increase his favorability with female voters by urging Congress on Monday to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. While I don't plan to base my vote for president on any single issue and I'm leery of what candidates are willing to do or say on the trail in order to attempt to attract this group of voters or that, I am in favor of paycheck fairness. And I'm glad that Obama is, as well.
Currently, full-time working women make about 77 cents for every dollar that men make with similar jobs, The Ticket reported. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a bill aimed at evening out that disparity through -- among other things -- changes to the language of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, calls for stiffer penalties against sex discrimination and makes grants available for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women. As an American woman, a single mother, and a mother to three daughters, this is an incredibly important issue to me.
According to The Daily Caller, the Paycheck Fairness Act is slated for vote in the Senate on Tuesday and needs 60 votes to pass. The bill failed in 2010, with no Republicans voting in favor of it. The business community, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is largely opposed to it, The Daily Caller reports, stating that it will increase the cost of business and increase the number of frivolous lawsuits. I understand the worry businesses have about getting hit with the added costs of increased regulations. And the economy is in a bad place to be putting additional regulations out there.
But I have seen gender inequality when it comes to pay. I have experienced it personally in my life. Paying a person less on the job because she is a woman, or paying someone more on the job because he is a man is both ridiculous and criminal, given the reality of the times we live in. So -- what, Republicans? You're not going to pass the bill because it might give Obama a point with the feminist groups this election? What, business community? You don't want it to pass because you might have to pay women the same money to do the same job as a man does? What, Chamber of Commerce? You don't want a woman to have the right to sue a company that discriminates against her because of her gender?
Will there be abuses of the act? Yes. Someone is always going to take advantage of the system. But that doesn't mean you just shrug your shoulders and tell women that there's nothing you can do. That we're just going to have to take our 77 cents on the dollar and be glad we even get that much. It doesn't mean that gender inequality has to stay the same, all because no one wants to pay the costs of change.
Election strategy or not, thanks for the support, President Obama.