Maybe Equal Pay isn't the problem
According to supporters of the Women's Economic Security Act, women want equal pay! Seems perfectly reasonable on the face of it. They also want maternity leave and an appropriate time and space to breast feed. A woman can't be fired if she has to take time off to care for her children. WESA supporters are thrilled. It's progress they say. There's also talk about paternity leave which would also seem to make things “more equal.”. Yet there remains the uncomfortable caveat that “we still have a long way to go”. If you embrace our current political process then the more important question becomes, “where are we going”.
I am one of those women. I'm a mother. I raised three children. I worked full time to provide for them. I made sacrifices in my career so I could care for my children. It was difficult for me to accept travel which was a major draw back in those days. I got bad reviews for the time I took off to care for my children. It means little to me that there is a law now that says I can't be fired for that. In these days of at will employment I wonder how I would enforce it. I was fortunate in not having to worry about equal pay. I was always at the top of my pay grade so generally I was earning more than many of my peers. What I wanted is what many women had; more time with my children, more time with my family, time to volunteer at their school and attend field trips and school events, more mommy play days. I wanted to be valued as a woman.
Women still provide most of the child care, most of the volunteer hours, most of the family organizing and care for aging parents, yet women are taking on an ever increasing financial burden. Women are now the primary wage earners in 40% of our families. That number jumps to 60% for Native American women and women of African heritage. What are politicians really offering to women: all day kindergarten and day care for children as young as three. That may seem like a welcome relief to women struggling to survive in minimum wage jobs but what does it say about our social values. Will the state raise our children so women can do service work. Quite honestly, what solutions are being offered on either side of the gender gap. If woman’s work doesn't pay a living wage how can they ever hope for economic independence. It is exactly this inequality of wealth that sustains the exploitation and abuse of women.
I am running for the U.S House of Representatives in the Second Congressional district because I believe women need representation that's focused on women's social values. The enormous inequality of wealth hurts women and children the most. Women should have the same economic opportunities as men but defining women by their economic worth does not respect women's social values. Globally, research has shown that ethnically diverse and divided nations that elect women rather than men to key national leadership offices end up with better economic performance. America now ranks ninety-eighth in the world for percentage of women in its national legislature, down from 59th in 1998. That’s embarrassing: just behind Kenya and Indonesia, and barely ahead of the United Arab Emirates.
If women believe themselves unable ot lead their own political organizations, I fear that it does not bode well for the future of women in politics.
Patterns of Democracy by Arend Lijphart