Where Are the Mama Grizzlies Now?

What Women Really Think
Nov. 18 2010 3:42 PM

Where Are the Mama Grizzlies Now?

/blogs/xx_factor/2010/11/18/the_paycheck_fairness_act_wont_get_a_senate_vote/jcr:content/body/slate_image

On Wednesday, the lame-duck Senate kicked off with a vote on whether to start debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act. Moving forward on this act, which the House passed with bipartisan support last year, would have been an important step toward workplace equity for women. It would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, strengthening incentives to prevent pay discrimination, and ensure that employers don’t retaliate against workers for asking about what their colleagues earn or sharing that information themselves. If I don’t know how much the man sitting in the next cubicle over earns, how do I know if I’m earning a fair day’s pay?

Advertisement

Instead of helping workers answer that question, the Senate fell two votes shy of averting a filibuster. Every single Senate Republican voted against opening debate, including Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine (plus Democrat Ben Nelson).

Research conducted by Lake Research Partners last summer showed support for the law from 91 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Independents . Eighty-seven percent of women and 81 percent of men backed it. In the United States, women continue to earn 77 cents on the dollar. Fair pay affects women first, and then their families and children. Four in 10 mothers are their family’s primary breadwinne r. Another quarter of mothers bring home a least a quarter of their family’s income. The recession has only increased families’ reliance on women’s earnings. New data from Kristin Smith at the Carsey Institute finds that in 2009, working wives brought home an average of 47 percent of their family’s total earnings, up from 45 percent in 2008.

In 2009, Congress passed a different law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores the longstanding interpretation of civil rights laws that allow employees to challenge any discriminatory paycheck they receive. Wednesday’s vote means that the Senate will not even consider this bill. It means that women will continue to face retribution for merely asking about pay practices.

A few months ago, Sarah Palin told America that her army of Mama Grizzlies would "rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs." Right now, protecting women’s pay is one of the best ways that we can make sure that women can take good care of their families, cubs included.

Yet not a single female Republican Senator could find it in her interest to vote to begin debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Where will be the new Mama Grizzlies in Congress be on this issue?

Photograph of Sarah Palin by Randy Snyder/Getty Images.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.