I’m not trying to be a party pooper. Borrowing one of PunditGirl’s new favorite words — I’m “ecstatic” that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is going to get signed into law by President Barack Obama. It’s a wonderful step forward in women’s battle for fair pay and gives us an important tool to get back pay and pension benefits, as well.
But the name of the Ledbetter bill is a tad misleading. Hopefully it puts us on the path to fair pay, but the new Ledbetter law is essentially a revised statute of limitations for wage discrimination claims. It doesn’t make employers pay people equally.
One step forward.
When the House of Representatives passed Ledbetter, it also gave the thumbs up to the Paycheck Fairness Act which would update the Equal Pay Act and prohibit employers from paying people less based on gender or race. Interestingly, the Senate refused to vote on that and who knows what committee in-box that will end up languishing in. So why didn’t the Senate vote on that as well?
One step back.
Now, as the economic stimulus package is on its way to the White House for passage, a little piece got taken out at request of President Obama because of GOP push back and House Minority Leader John Boehner’s question about how birth control and reproductive rights could possibly have anything to do with economic stimulus.
To Congressman Boehner, I say, “DUH!”
I know they’re not really that stupid. It’s not rocket science to figure out that if women have access to birth control, fewer kids means making families’ lives more affordable and manageable, saving the government money in other programs. Giving low income women access to preventative care like Pap tests and other screening tests detect disease early, making it more treatable, keeping women in the workforce to support their families.
I was taken aback when President Obama said that now isn’t the “right” time to increase funding so all women have access to the kind of services that reduce the burden on state and federal programs AND keep women working TO. STIMULATE. THE. ECONOMY.
If not now, President Obama, when IS the right time? You might be able to convince me, if you tell me what your timing is.
Two steps back.
I know it’s hard for some guys to get their heads around the reality that reproductive health care has a direct link to our economy’s well-being. It’s even harder for me to understand this view when so many of those who oppose it, or want to delay it, are fathers of daughters.
Barack, don’t keep us waiting. You’ve got some goodwill saved up in the bank. But we expect you to be an advocate for the Paycheck Fairness Act and for increased health services for low income women. It’s only going to be a few years until Malia and Sasha will be directly impacted by how women are paid in this country and face the realities of how many mothers are treated when it comes to getting the health care they need to keep our economy going.
As I sometimes say to PunditGirl, please don’t make me ask again.