With a record number of women in the workforce and two-thirds of women functioning as primary or co-bread winners for their families, one would think that a savvy politician like Erik Paulsen would read the Wall Street Journal for indicators of how voters feel on issues.
Well, Representative Paulsen, who voted against the Lily Ledbetter Pay Act, must have missed this Wall Street Journal story (highlights below) :
Survey Finds Wage Discrimination a Sticking Point
Decades after women began flooding into the workforce, 84% of women say men are paid more for similar work, a view borne out by government data but which draws agreement from only two-thirds of men. More than four in 10 women say they have faced gender discrimination personally, most often in the workplace.
46% of women responded saying they’ve experienced discrimination because they’re women, a number that has increased slightly from a 2000 survey.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that women who work full-time earn 79% of the weekly pay that men bring home. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which tracks the gender wage gap, finds that women’s median earnings lag men’s in almost every occupation.
“It’s very powerful stuff about what is and is not changing in this country,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, told the Wall Street Journal.
Yep, nationally its 79% … but in Representative Paulsen’s Third District, it is even worse.
According to the most recently available statistics (2011) from the U.S. Department of Labor, the average woman working full time, year-round were paid just 76 percent of what the average man earned— a male earns $61,404 while a female earn $46,762. One could write this off to an experienced workforce, but even after controlling for factors known to affect earnings, such as occupation, college major, and hours worked, nationally a 7 percent pay gap persists between male and female college graduates just one year after graduation.
While the Ledbetter Act reinstated employees’ ability to have their day in court, further action is required to close the pay gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377), a much-needed update to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 needs to be enacted. Among the improves that legislation would make include protecting employees from retaliation if they share their wages or ask about employers’ wage practices, and implement stronger deterrents to stop discrimination in the first place.
Representative Paulsen had a chance to address this issue on Thursday … but he voted against moving it for an immediate vote. Representative Paulsen voted NO.
Now, the legislation sits at the hands of Chairman John Kline (R-MN-02) of the Education and Workforce Committee who controls the legislative action … of course, Representative Paulsen could sign the Discharge Petition (as 138 Members have) to force a vote … but that would be going against Party Managers.
BTW, Minnesota’s Second District does not fare much better than the Third as it too sits at 76% but with slightly lower wages. Sona Mehring, a potential challenger to Chairman Kline, has adding her voice to push Congress to take action NOW.
— Mehring for Congress (@SonaForCongress) April 11, 2013