I don’t mean to go too far astray from our usual, Oregon-focused blogging. But… Wisconsin? Are you SERIOUS?
At the end of last week, infamous Wisconsin Governor Walker signed a bill that repealed the state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act. The Act had worked to eliminate employment discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, and other factors by allowing those who suffered discrimination to pursue legal recourse.
Most states have similar laws, enacted in large part to combat the well-known gender pay gap. But Wisconsin legislators have voted to repeal the Act, stating that it’s simply not needed because gender discrimination doesn’t exist.
Michelle Goldberg of the Daily Beast presented proponents of the repeal with studies that prove that gender discrimination does, in fact, exist. In response, Republican state senator Glenn Grothman, main proponent of the repeal, updated his message to say: gender discrimination doesn’t exist — but if it does, it’s okay because money is just more important to men.
Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, hear it from his own mouth. From the Daily Beast:
Grothman doesn’t accept these studies. When I ran the numbers by him, he replied, “The American Association of University Women is a pretty liberal group.” Nor, he argued, does its conclusion take into account other factors, like “goals in life. You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.”
Yes, you could argue that money is more important for men. But you shouldn’t. Because that would be foolish, wrong, and sexist.
(Oh, and in case you’re curious: In Oregon, women earn 79.6 cents to the dollar earned by men.)