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Ruth Martin's picture

Which is it: Are we supposed to "Lean In" or not?  Apparently, "leaning in" can get you FIRED when you start asking inconvenient questions! 

Yesterday the news broke that New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was fired and the New Yorker and NPR are both reporting that it may have to do Abramson’s investigating if she was being paid unfairly.  

According to the New Yorker: Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs.  

That’s outrageous enough, but here is the part that really made my jaw drop: When Abramson found out about the unequal pay she took action and that action may have had a direct impact on her losing her job: According to the article: “She had a lawyer make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities, which set them (Abramson’s superiors) off. It also contributed to the narrative that Abramson was “pushy.” 

This will keep happening, to people a whole lot less powerful than Abramson, unless we act.

If it turns out to be true that Abramson was fired, in part, for making inquires into wage discrimination that is terrible, unacceptable, and – sadly – legal.  If this can happen to the first woman to become executive editor for what is arguably one of the most influential newspapers in the United States, it can happen to any woman in any job.

This is one of many reasons why we need Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act! The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who make inquires into wage discrepancies. But last month the U.S. Senate BLOCKED the bill from moving forward. We’re not giving up though! 

Send a message, right now, to your Senators telling them you expect them to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act up for another vote and to pass it!

Momentum is growing. Just this Tuesday, MomsRising member AnnMarie testified in front of the Senate Budget Committee about how she was paid less than a male colleague simply because she was a woman. AnnMarie spoke to the fact that the only way she was able to win her seven year (!) campaign to close the unequal gap in her pay, was due in large part to the fact that her pay was transparent and state law protected her from retaliation from her employers!  

Last month President Obama took executive action to ensure that federal contractors are barred from retaliating against employees who discuss their salary information.  But that only protects a portion of our workforce. 

We still need Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would allow all workers to talk about their salaries to their coworkers and employers without worrying about being fired.  That's why all of us need to raise our voices, to send messages, and to take action. It's going to take all of our voices to keep the momentum going strong.

Tell your U.S. Senators that we’re tired of waiting. They need to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act up for another vote and this time they need to pass it. 

 *Please be sure to pass this on to all of your friends and family, and share the action link on Facebook and Twitter, so they can take action too!

Together we’re a powerful force for women and families.

P.S. If you need to laugh so you don't cry after reading this, check out our Buzzfeed article on 7 ways that 1960s MadMen looks like today. 

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