As the Queen of England winds down her celebration of 65 years ruling the throne, Republicans in the U.S. continue to have a circular conversation on a woman’s value in the workplace. There are currently 20 female Presidents and Prime Ministers around the world and 6 Queens and/or Vice Regal, the most female leaders ever to rule at one time, and yet women in the U.S. are still making 77 cents to the dollar of a man—even less if you happen to be a woman of color.
On Tuesday Republicans in the Senate blocked a measure that would ensure that women do not face pay inequity in the workplace. Sixty votes were needed to move the measure forward and it only received 52—not one Republican thought in these harsh recession times with many families struggling on just one income, that pay equity for women was an important issue. What I fail to understand is how the 5 female Republican Senators that have clearly benefited from non-discrimination policies could turn a blind eye on this issue. Where is the sisterhood? Where is the camaraderie?
The 2010 midterm election headlines boasted that it was going to be “The Year of the Woman” but after the dust of the election season settled we found Congress less balanced than ever. Women currently make up only 17% of the seats in Congress. Without equal representation how can we expect equal treatment? Men, regardless of how progressive some may be will never know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a woman—to work twice as hard for half the pay. They will never be looked at as a pariah if they have the audacity to get pregnant and want more than 6 weeks at home with their newborn? Or ask for an area to nurse? These are just a few of the issues that women in the workplace still face yet we make up over 50% of the employed.
It seems like Republicans only want to address equality issues when there is nothing else on the table—I can’t think of anything more important than everyone, including women getting a fair shake. Yet, when Democrats try to bring the issue to the floor for a vote, Republicans tell us we’re “playing politics”. I can think of nothing MORE political or a BIGGER detriment to our success as a nation than providing equal pay for equal work. It’s ironic that the party that always wants to “put family first” has no problem putting women second.
In other equality news, DOMA is on its way down—to the Supreme Court. For the second time in a week a federal court has ruled the unconstitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
Keen News Service reported: Judge Barbara Jones of the U.S. District Court for Southern New York, which includes Manhattan, issued a ruling Wednesday (June 6), saying DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection when it requires a same-sex spouse to pay a federal estate tax that heterosexual spouses are exempt from.
As we know progress is not a sprint it’s a marathon. While the courts are taking steps forward with recognizing DOMA for the discriminatory law that it is—Republicans continue to thwart equity for women and well everyone who isn’t white, straight, and a man. Nonetheless the fight for justice will continue. As I always say, progress can’t stop and won’t stop so let’s continue to press forward.
In case you missed it check out Aisha’s debut on Current TV’s the War Room with Jennifer Granholm discussing the initial federal court’s DOMA ruling. Polinista fabulosity!