Wendi Kent was a little disappointed by the turnout.

Kent, 32, only drew about 100 people to an event outside the Capitol Monday that she began to plan about a month ago.

But while she had hoped enough would attend to encircle the Capitol, she still found plenty of like-minded people, mostly women, willing to take a formal pledge at her “Reclaim Women’s Equality Day” event.

Aug. 26 is designated annually by the president and Congress as Women’s Equality Day, to commemorate the day in 1920 when women were first given the right to vote and the day in 1970 when a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

But Kent, a photographer by trade and mother of two, feels insulted by the idea of celebrating something she believes has yet to be achieved.

“The idea irked me,” she said. “I had to do something about it.”

Her solution: Reclaim Women’s Equality Day. She spread the word using social media, with a poster that said "We do not know true equality. YET."

She said she invited Republican and Democratic state lawmakers. She told me a representative from Madison Rep. Brett Hulsey’s office was the only one who responded, to say he couldn’t attend.

Kent told me the event in Madison was designed to empower women to make changes in what they perceive as gender inequalities, first by educating themselves on the issues and then by voting.

She made the process to get involved simple, by attaching a pledge card to a list of organizations and groups dedicated to issues relevant to women with a suggestion that they either make a donation to or volunteer their time with a group on the list.

“I’m hoping to provide people with a starting point,” Kent said before the start of the rally. “Make a $5 donation or volunteer for a day. Make a promise to do something new for women, so we can really achieve gender equality.”

Mary Kaye Radtke, 56, feels equality issues for women are taking a “little step backwards,” at the moment, particularly in health care.

“It’s my body,” she says. “I don’t want other people making decisions for me.”

She added that while the number of women in elected government positions is growing slowly, she still thinks voters judge women first on their gender and then on their stands on the issues.

Susan Carson, a retired family practitioner who lives in Madison, remembers a time when she was in medical school and a quarter of the class was women. Now, the number of women is about half. Women have made gains in other fields as well, she says, but other developments have been discouraging.

She cites a U.S. Supreme Court case from earlier this year as a step in the wrong direction. A group of female Walmart employees had filed a class-action suit against their employer, claiming gender discrimination and seeking billions in back pay. But the high court ruled the women did not share a clearly identifiable common injury enabling them to qualify as a class.

Had the court sided with the women, it would have been the largest class-action discrimination suit in history, potentially involving billions in back pay and punitive damages.

The decision here by Republican lawmakers to repeal Wisconsin’s 2-year-old equal pay law is another step in the wrong direction, she says.

“We’ve made progress,” Carson says. “We need to make more.”

Reporter

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(20) comments

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Why do women vote for Obama?
Because they are smarter than men!

Roni Jo

Thank you Wendi Kent for all you do! I wanted to be a part of this but when the time was changed (Thanks Capitol! Not) I couldn't make it. For you who say there isn't a War on Women.....get your heads out of the sand! This is real, all one has to do is pay attention to the whacked out "New GOP" to see that it is real!

EdnaK
EdnaK

The thought that fighting for women's equality is deemed as a sign of being a victim or subordinate is inane. Apparently none of those who are spouting the pay equity numbers have never worked next to someone who holds very similar (if not lesser) qualifications and been paid less than them. Statistically it isn't as much of an issue for 20-somethings up to mid-30-somethings. But there are those of us who are older than that whose starting salaries lagged way behind. Over the course of a lifetime the numbers add up. So if statistically the percentage is 77 cents on the dollar, that's nearly $500 a year PER dollar in lost wages (0.27 x 40 x 52). If the number is 86 cents on the dollar as another poster noted, that's nearly $300 a year PER dollar in lost wages. Those numbers add up in everyone's tax bracket.

Arguments that requirements that have been lessened for firefighters (and other professions) always forget to mention one thing...the changed requirement also allows men who would have not passed the more stringent requirements into the system. It also never really asks whether the original set of requirements was set to keep women out of the profession or whether the criteria were truly necessary as a test to weed out people who could not perform the job.

We don't cap requirements in college or in the workplace based on census numbers--so that isn't a real issue. On the other hand, if we did, women would still outnumber the men enrolled in programs, and then should also outnumber men in the workplace and in public office.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors does have near parity in terms of elected women and men. That is what we're striving for in politics. To have the representatives represent us. All of us.

I find it difficult (impossible, actually) to understand why anyone would trash the concept of equality.

fatwallet

Beside being a phony issue, has Julia ever considered all the perpetually offended are burned out on demonstrating at the Capitol?

And Lynne 3400, get a life and a new ID.

joe

The posted data shows that the women pay inequality is just another made up crock of sh't to get women to vote for the very person who is manipulating them with false data.

BobsYourUncle
BobsYourUncle

Nice post, Fedup01! Here is some info from a previous Washington Post article;

Women still earn just 70 cents for every dollar a man earns. It's worse for African American women and Latinas.”

— President Obama, Remarks on Equal Pay for Equal Work, June 4, 2011 (The White House later corrected the president’s statement to 77 cents.)

“Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn, with women of color at an even greater disadvantage with 64 cents on the dollar for African American women and 56 cents for Hispanic women.”

— White House Statement of Administration Policy on Paycheck Fairness Act, June 4

The debate over the latest legislation to address the gap in pay between men and women is a great opportunity to explore the various ways these data are collected and often used for political purposes. There is no perfect source of data — the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics come up with different numbers even though they can draw on similar data sets — but often advocates of action will tend to pick the worst possible figure to advance their cause.

We will ignore the president’s misstatement and assume he meant to say 77 cents. (We don’t play gotcha at The Fact Checker.) But we also will probe how Obama and the White House come up with the claim that the gap is “worse” for black and Hispanic women.


The Facts


We were struck by the disparities in the data when we noticed that a news release by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) trumpeted the 77 cent figure, but it included a link to a state-by-state breakdown that gave a different overall figure: 81 cents.

What’s the difference? The 77 cent figure comes from a Census Bureau report, which is based on annual wages. The BLS numbers draw on data that are based on weekly wages. Annual wages is a broader measure — it can include bonuses, retirement pensions, investment income and the like — but it also means that school teachers, who may not work over the summer, would end up with a lower annual wage.

In other words, since women in general work fewer hours than men in a year, the statistics may be less reliable for examining the key focus of the legislation — wage discrimination. Weekly wages is more of an apples-to-apples comparison, but as mentioned, it does not include as many income categories,

The gap is even smaller when you look at hourly wages — it is 86 cents vs. 100 (see Table 9) — but then not every wage earner is paid on an hourly basis, so that statistic excludes salaried workers. But, under this metric for people with a college degree, there is virtually no pay gap at all.

This brings us to our larger point: Broad comparisons are inherently problematic. As the BLS points out: “Users should note that the comparisons of earnings in this report are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that may be significant in explaining earnings differences.”

Indeed, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis surveyed economic literature and concluded that “research suggests that the actual gender wage gap (when female workers are compared with male workers who have similar characteristics) is much lower than the raw wage gap.” They cited one survey, prepared for the Labor Department, which concluded that when such differences are accounted for, much of the hourly wage gap dwindled, to about 5 cents on the dollar. (UPDATE: Our colleagues at WonkBlog calculate that the gap narrows to 91 cents for every dollar “if you control for life choices.”)

Not only did the White House pick the statistic that makes the wage gap look the worst, but then officials further tweaked the numbers to make the situation for African Americans and Hispanics look even more dire.

The BLS, for instance, says the pay gap is relatively small for black and Hispanic women (94 cents and 91 cents, respectively) but the numbers used by the White House compare their wages against the wages of white men. Black and Hispanic men generally earn less than white men, so the White House comparison makes the pay gap even larger, even though the factors for that gap between minority women and white men may have little to do with gender.

Administration officials, who insisted on anonymity and would not allow direct quotes, defended their use of the data. They said the Census figures give a more complete picture of women’s contribution to household finances. They also said it made much more sense to compare black and Hispanic women to white men, because those wages represent the standard that all workers should aspire to. The officials said the administration has never argued that wage discrimination is 100 percent the cause of the gap, and that previous documents issued by the White House have made it clear that the comparisons were being made to white men.

(Mikulski’s office, meanwhile, said it would no longer use the chart indicating a smaller gender pay gap.)

For people interested in more information, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has put together a handy guide showing some of the differences between some of the data sets. (UPDATE: Heidi Hartmann of the IWPR on June 13 wrote a blog post saying “there is nothing at all misleading or biased” about Obama’s use of the figures.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-white-houses-use-of-data-on-the-gender-wage-gap/2012/06/04/gJQAYH6nEV_blog.html

TakingUpSpace
TakingUpSpace

Re: the Walmart class action:

"Taking Apart the Walmart Sex-base Class-action Lawsuit"
http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/taking-apart-the-walmart-sex-bias-class-action-lawsuit/

Please be sitting down when you read it.

See also:

“The Doctrinaire Institute for Women's Policy Research”
http://wp.me/p10VSC-oC

fedup01

There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap Wall Street Jouranl: April 12, 2010
A study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that women earned 8% more than men.

By CARRIE LUKAS

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day—so dubbed by the National Committee for Pay Equity, which represents feminist groups including the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, the National Council of Women's Organizations and others. The day falls on April 12 because, according to feminist logic, women have to work that far into a calendar year before they earn what men already earned the year before.


In years past, feminist leaders marked the occasion by rallying outside the U.S. Capitol to decry the pernicious wage gap and call for government action to address systematic discrimination against women. This year will be relatively quiet. Perhaps feminists feel awkward protesting a liberal-dominated government—or perhaps they know that the recent economic downturn has exposed as ridiculous their claims that our economy is ruled by a sexist patriarchy.

The unemployment rate is consistently higher among men than among women. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 9.3% of men over the age of 16 are currently out of work. The figure for women is 8.3%. Unemployment fell for both sexes over the past year, but labor force participation (the percentage of working age people employed) also dropped. The participation rate fell more among men (to 70.4% today from 71.4% in March 2010) than women (to 58.3% from 58.8%). That means much of the improvement in unemployment numbers comes from discouraged workers—particularly male ones—giving up their job searches entirely.

Men have been hit harder by this recession because they tend to work in fields like construction, manufacturing and trucking, which are disproportionately affected by bad economic conditions. Women cluster in more insulated occupations, such as teaching, health care and service industries.

Yet if you can accept that the job choices of men and women lead to different unemployment rates, then you shouldn't be surprised by other differences—like differences in average pay.

Enlarge Image

Corbis
Feminist hand-wringing about the wage gap relies on the assumption that the differences in average earnings stem from discrimination. Thus the mantra that women make only 77% of what men earn for equal work. But even a cursory review of the data proves this assumption false.

The Department of Labor's Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap.

Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.

Men, by contrast, often take on jobs that involve physical labor, outdoor work, overnight shifts and dangerous conditions (which is also why men suffer the overwhelming majority of injuries and deaths at the workplace). They put up with these unpleasant factors so that they can earn more.

Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women's earnings are going up compared to men's.

Should we celebrate the closing of the wage gap? Certainly it's good news that women are increasingly productive workers, but women whose husbands and sons are out of work or under-employed are likely to have a different perspective. After all, many American women wish they could work less, and that they weren't the primary earners for their families.

Few Americans see the economy as a battle between the sexes. They want opportunity to abound so that men and women can find satisfying work situations that meet their unique needs. That—not a day dedicated to manufactured feminist grievances—would be something to celebrate.

Ms. Lukas is executive director of the Independent Women's Forum.

madtownative
madtownative

Outstanding, accurate & informative!...which means YOU hate women, er, feminist fabricators...

vindaloo
vindaloo

Women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the identical job with identical output.
Women can not get birth control medication as easily as men get erectile dysfunction medication.
Women do not have the same control as a man over whether or not they reproduce.
When a person reports a rape, it should provoke concern before skepticism or criticism.
Women make up 17% of the Senate and the House.
Women who were elected as Representatives were refused the opportunity to do their job and speak on the house floor. By men.
Panels consisting solely of men are discussing whatʼs best for women's bodies even though they do not have the reproductive parts, do not understand them AND they don't eve want to hear the proper terms spoken aloud.
Murder by a partner has bounced from first and third places as being the leading cause of death for pregnant women.

Having more women in college does nothing to erase other examples of inequality. You are naming one example to argue this issue doesn't exist?
Also, women who are given equal rights are more likely to raise successful men. Think about that. You should be fighting for gender equality for yourself.

NurseM

Women do not have the same control as men over whether they reproduce??? SINCE WHEN!!! You know what prevents pregnancies that you don't want. Not having sex. Equal amongst men and women.

vindaloo
vindaloo

You know what else causes pregnancies that you don't want? RAPE. When you experience it, let's talk.

SukieTawdry
SukieTawdry

When all else is equal (duties, experience, years/hours on the job, education), women make the same as men for the "identical" job and in many cases more.

Low cost and even free contraception is widely and readily available. Getting it can be as easy as going to the drug store. Many forms do not require a doctor's prescription. Viagra, on the other hand, does.

Women, in fact, have the ultimate control over whether or not they reproduce or, in most cases, whether or not they get pregnant (rape victims have the options to both protect against pregnancy after the fact and terminate any pregnancy that might occur). When a man impregnates a woman, his options are few. He can't force her to have the baby and he can't force her to terminate the pregnancy. He, however, is held responsible for the support of any child that results regardless of whether or not he wants it.

A reported rape does "provoke concern." Law enforcement assumes the woman is telling the truth and proceeds accordingly. If such accusations are occasionally met with skepticism, you can first blame the women, and there are many, who make false accusations of sexual assault and/or rape. It's these women who do the most harm to the women who actually suffer such attacks.

Women make up 17& of the Senate and House. Okay. What's your point?

If you are referring to the House panel hearings that spawned Sandra Fluke, the 30-year old "college girl," you simply don't have your facts straight. And do you suggest that male legislators recuse themselves from any proceedings that involve a woman's "body"? Can you think of any issues involving men from which female legislators should recuse themselves?

In cases of murder, the police first look at the spouse/ex-spouse/boy(girl)friend/ex-boy(girl)friend because experience and statistics tell them that's where they should first look. It's hardly surprising that women, pregnant or not, are usually murdered by someone with whom they've been intimate. Should we start locking up pregnant women's partners as a precautionary measure?

Women already have equal rights and, in many cases, better than equal rights. You have perhaps heard that women are among the "disadvantaged minorities" deserving of affirmative action considerations. And how many successful men have been raised by women who are perpetually whining about gender inequality?

SukieTawdry
SukieTawdry

When all else is equal (duties, experience, years/hours on the job, education), women make the same as men for the "identical" job and in many cases more.

Low cost and even free contraception is widely and readily available. Getting it can be as easy as going to the drug store. Many forms do not require a doctor's prescription. Viagra, on the other hand, does.

Women, in fact, have the ultimate control over whether or not they reproduce or, in most cases, whether or not they get pregnant (rape victims have the options to both protect against pregnancy after the fact and terminate any pregnancy that might occur). When a man impregnates a woman, his options are few. He can't force her to have the baby and he can't force her to terminate the pregnancy. He, however, is held responsible for the support of any child that results regardless of whether or not he wants it.

A reported rape does "provoke concern." Law enforcement assumes the woman is telling the truth and proceeds accordingly. If such accusations are occasionally met with skepticism, you can first blame the women, and there are many, who make false accusations of sexual assault and/or rape. It's these women who do the most harm to the women who actually suffer such attacks.

Women make up 17& of the Senate and House. Okay. What's your point?

If you are referring to the House panel hearings that spawned Sandra Fluke, the 30-year old "college girl," you simply don't have your facts straight. And do you suggest that male legislators recuse themselves from any proceedings that involve a woman's "body"? Can you think of any issues involving men from which female legislators should recuse themselves?

In cases of murder, the police first look at the spouse/ex-spouse/boy(girl)friend/ex-boy(girl)friend because experience and statistics tell them that's where they should first look. It's hardly surprising that women, pregnant or not, are usually murdered by someone with whom they've been intimate. Should we start locking up pregnant women's partners as a precautionary measure?

Women already have equal rights and, in many cases, better than equal rights. You have perhaps heard that women are among the "disadvantaged minorities" deserving of affirmative action considerations. How many successful men have been raised by women who are perpetually whining about gender inequality?

buckyami
buckyami

Not trying to be snarky, but what issues have yet to be achieved on the women's equality agenda?

(Even the Wisconsin equal pay act example in the article was a bit silly - there's been a federal equal pay act on the books for nearly fifty years.)

Lynne4300

Instead of impersonating me.............(3400)....why not change your user name to Julia and use an photo of the "uterus on a stick"? That would portray you perfectly.

Lynne3400
Lynne3400

Women's equality is being jeopardize by the social engineering of the republican party and the backward thinking of the Tea Party.

If you want to protect women's equality vote Libertarian in 2012.

joe

Ridiculous. The freshman class at UW has been majority female for years. Do they want it to be 75%? Will that finally be "fair"? It is humorous how only inequalities for females are mentioned otherwise it is ignored. Quite a joke.

Lynne4300

The war on women..........is being waged by the democrats who want women to feel inferior....I think it's working (for all the Julia's out there).

bosco

Do women really want to puch this phony issue? They already are considered a minority when they are not. Requirements to be a firefighter have been lowered so that woman can get the job to the sfety detriment of their colleagues. There are more women in college in men so should we cap it at 50% each group. Find a real issue and quit playing the victim.

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