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Current Events / Politics PopWrapped | Current Events

President Obama Vilifies Discriminatory Gender-Based Wage Practices

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PopWrapped

@PopWrapped
04/05/2014 11:03 am
PopWrapped | Current Events
President Obama Vilifies Discriminatory Gender-Based Wage Practices
Media Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.

Gloria Ayee

Staff Writer

@GloriaYAyee

President Barack Obama has called for legislation that would guarantee equal pay for women. Speaking to an audience of about 260 students and other invited guests at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida on March 20, the president declared that women need to have “a fair shot” when it comes to economic issues. It is difficult to understand why, in this day and age, a developed country like the United States still does not have laws that ensure women receive pay commensurate with their education and experience, and there continues to be a significant gender gap in terms of wages. As President Obama pointed out in his speech, “This isn’t 1958. It is 2014.” The president went on to say that more women are the primary breadwinners in their family than ever before. “It is time for a women’s economic agenda that grows our economy for everybody. That begins with making sure that women receive equal pay for equal work.” As the president pointed out, on average, women are still earning only 77 cents on every dollar that their male colleagues make. Furthermore, women with college degrees may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of their careers than men with the same level of education. In his remarks, President Obama also stated that women deserve to be protected by workplace policies that guarantee their employment will not be in jeopardy following pregnancy and the birth of a child. The president even acknowledged that “If men were having babies, [the country] would have different policies.” White House aides have noted that high female voter turnout, especially among single women, will be one of the most crucial factors in determining Democratic performance in the November elections. It, therefore, makes sense that President Obama is tackling the issue of gender-based wage discrimination head on at this time. By directly focusing on this economic issue that remains high on the political agenda, and surprisingly continues to be a matter of debate, the president is trying to help the Democratic Party win the November elections. A March 20 Associated Press article breaks down the voting statistics along gender lines as follows: Average exit poll results for House elections from 1976 through 2012 indicate that women are less likely to vote Democratic in off-year elections than in presidential elections. Women average 54 percent support for Democrats in House votes in presidential elections, and 52 percent support for Democrats in off-year elections. Among men, however, there is no marked shift in presidential versus non-presidential election years, with exit poll data indicating that there is 48 percent average support for Democrats in both types of elections. In 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. This Act is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and states that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit because of employment discrimination in terms of wages, will be reset with each new paycheck that is affected by discriminatory actions. The law makes it easier for women to sue if they are not being paid the same as men. President Obama states that in the coming weeks Congress will have the opportunity to address the issue of gender-based discriminatory wages by voting on the Paycheck Fairness Act. The majority of Democratic senators support the bill, but so far Republicans have blocked it. “We've got to get them to change their minds and join us in this century,” Obama said, “Because a woman deserves equal pay for equal work. It’s pretty straightforward.”

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