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Liz Shuler's picture

Sometimes you know in your heart you’re right, but having solid facts at your disposal helps make the case if you get challenged. Today I want to share two examples of that with you.

Paycheck Fairness bashing: Bogus! When congressional Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act a few weeks ago, some of them claimed the legislation was just election year political theater. After all, several trumpeted, women are paid less (if they acknowledge that women actually are paid less, mind you) because of choices women make and because the professions we pursue command smaller paychecks.

I bet a lot of you silently hollered “Bogus!” when you heard that, like I did. And now we have research to back up what we knew was true.

A nice new feature in The New York Times called “The Upshot” brings us data from Harvard University labor economist Claudia Goldin showing most of the pay gap between men and women is within professions rather than between them—and it’s especially big in high-wage professions. Goldin says that’s because what’s rewarded most at work is putting in long hours, being at the office and being on call 24/7—completely ignoring the value of balancing work and family life.

Here’s how the Times sums it all up:

“What all this data presumes is that women with children are the ones who want the flexibility to work remotely or at odd hours. Maybe more workplaces would change more quickly if men placed more value on that, too.”

And here’s more evidence on paid sick days: Turns out, even Seattle’s businesses like the city’s paid sick days law, passed in 2012. A city audit found that 70% of businesses support the law, costs were minimal and workers used less paid sick time than expected. How about the effect on job creation? Here’s the kicker: “If anything, the Ordinance seems to have had a positive effect on the hiring sector,” the audit found.

Read more evidence of the benefits of paid sick days here.

Update: These women aren’t cheering: The last time I wrote here, I told you about two National Football League (NFL) cheerleaders in court challenging unfair pay and working conditions. It’s spreading. Five former Buffalo Jills (the cheer team for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills) sued the Bills and its management firms, saying they were not paid the legal minimum wage and were treated with disrespect. Two days later, the company that manages the Jills suspended the squad’s operations at least for the 2014 season.

In the lawsuit, a former Jill, Maria P., said the cheerleaders were subject to harassment and inappropriate touching at an annual golf tournament they were required to attend. The Buffalo News reports selected cheerleaders were “required to wear bikinis and go into a dunk tank where they were dunked by tournament participants. They were auctioned off like prizes and had to ride around in golf carts with the winning bidders, the suit says.” A management spokesman told the Buffalo News it is the organization’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.

Wow. It’s 2014, right? Whether we’re doctors, full-time moms, astronauts, restaurant servers or cheerleaders—we all deserve respect.

Do you agree? Let me know below. I hope to hear from you.



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