When I was little, it never occurred to me that Batgirl didn’t get paid the same as Batman or Robin. Hey, she did just the same kind of work they did AND she had to do it in skin-tight Lycra and high-heeled boots. I remember this ad when from when a weekly Batman episode was appointment television! I thought it was amusing, but didn’t realize her problem in the 1960s would still be mine today.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Believe it or not, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is opposing legislative reforms that would ensure that those of us who loved Batgirl when we were still wearing saddle shoes could see fair pay become a reality for everyone, sons and daughters.
I really don’t get it. The Ledbetter Act allows any worker — not just a woman — to file a claim for back pay when they discover it. Seems fair, right? But the Chamber of Commerce position goes like this — it’s unfair to employers to allow employees to file claims when they learn of the discrimination. Employees must file within a certain period of time — within the statute of limitations for you legal junkies — or lose the claim.
So if an employer pays a woman less than a man for the same work for, say, ten years but the employee doesn’t find out about it until the end of year ten, she’s screwed because she would only have two or three years from the time the discrimination started to file a suit. It wouldn’t matter if she didn’t know about, it would just be too unfair to all those big businesses, like Goodyear in the Ledbetter case.
If this makes your blood boil as much as mine, head on over to the Out of the Way of Fair Pay site and send a letter to the Chamber of Commerce calling for it to end its opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and other legislation that would remove roadblocks that keep women, especially working mothers, from receiving equal pay for equal work.
Batgirl is probably retired by now, but if she had a superhero daughter, I’m pretty sure she’d be taking over this fight for her mom. Don’t let this one slide. This isn’t a matter of women vs. men or mothers vs. fathers. This is only about paying people the same who have the same jobs. Period.
If Batgirl’s daughter is busy, I’ll put PunditGirl on the case. Do you think she needs a cape for that?
UPDATE: At the Supreme Court on Thursday, AT&T invoked the Ledbetter case as one justification for docking women for pension contributions because they didn’t find out until recently about the actions AT&T took in the late 1970s and early 1980s. And that’s what happens when you have an administration for eight years that disrespects women and guards the money of large corporations.