Thursday, January 15, 2009

Can a bitch get some pay equity?

Congress is voting on Lilly Ledbetter today, and I wait with baited breath. For those of you who don't know, Lilly Ledbetter is a woman who started working for Goodyear Tire in 1979. Apparently, Ledbetter had long believed that her male co-workers were receiving higher salaries, but she couldn't prove it until 1998, when someone slipped a letter in her mailbox confirming her suspicions. Ledbetter sued, and the Supreme Court (in its infinite wisdom), ruled that she couldn't sue because of an 180-day statute of limitations. Basically, the Supreme Court told Ledbetter to suck it, because she hadn't sued 180 days after she was hired in 1979.

So today Congress votes on the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which will determine that the 180-day statute of limitations begins with every paycheck, rather than the date that the pay is agreed upon.

This case highlights a lot of the ongoing discrimination that women still face, but I think what bugs the fuck out of me is that something is terribly awry with the Supreme Court. I realize, of course, that 6 of them were appointed by the Bushes and Reagan, so OF COURSE something is wrong with them. But really. I'll never understand the urge of some people to side with big business over actual people. I'm not saying that rulings which favor business don't have their place; but for crying out loud, this is an obvious case of equal rights. The court had a chance to take a stand against the pay disparities that have been plaguing women since...forever, and they failed. It sickens and saddens me that the judges on the highest court in the nation still favor business' rights over women's rights. In fact, I believe the Supreme Court recently took a vote on their new official slogan: "Bros before hos."

Our vaginas don't make us less competent, less able, or less valuable employees. If we perform the same job as a man, we get the same pay. It's that simple. And if we DON'T get the same pay, we get to sue the shit out of the company for damages and backpay. Businesses need to learn that women aren't inferior workers, and that there are consequences for treating us that way. Society leaves us at enough of a disadvantage without the added injustice of receiving 79% of what men make. So come on congress: take a stand for eliminating sexist business practices. Or my vagina will get you in your sleep.

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