War on Women

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The War on Women|
English Composition II|
|
Courtney Wise|
10/26/2012|

In Wisconsin women earn about 75 cents for every dollar that men make. According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) it is estimated that families “lose more than $4,000 a year due to unequal pay.” (Terkel, 2012) It is safe to say that in this day and age women are a huge part of the workforce of the United States and should be paid equally to men. “For a popular Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in Chicago, a 30-year-old woman pays $375 a month, which is 31 percent more than what a man of the same age pays for the same coverage, according to eHealthInsurance.com[->0], a leading online source of health insurance.” (Pear, 2012) These areas of equal pay and healthcare are two topics that are of grave importance to the women and men of the United States. In the past women have simply gone without or taken what they were given but that has usually resulted in subpar pay and care which directly affects the lives of their families. All peoples of the United States should understand the struggle women have made in terms of equal pay our healthcare and reproductive rights in the ongoing struggle for equality.

The first time equal pay for equal work was given a thought was during WWI when women were working in positions previously filled by men. However that all changed when the men came back from war and women went back to domestic and clerical work. Similarly in WWII women were called upon to take up jobs (some for the first time) in place of the men but were unequally paid and urged to give up their jobs once the men returned home. It was not until 1963 that Congress passed and Equal Pay Act which outlawed separate pay scales for men and women in the same job. Despite the EPA there is still a wage disparity of 18 percentage points between men and women’s pay that go to work straight out of college. (Johnson, 2012) In a report by the American Association of University Women, “one year after graduation women were making only 82 percent of what their male colleagues were paid” (Johnson, 2012).

Lilly Ledbetter was a woman of little means from Possum Trot, Alabama who worked her way up to management level at the Goodyear tire factory. She was proud of her accomplishments as a working woman in a man’s position. Nineteen years after her first day Lilly received an anonymous note telling her she was making considerably less than her male coworkers. Faced with a difficult decision she decided to take a stand and filed a sexual discrimination case against Goodyear. She won but the ruling was later overturned in an appeal. Eight years later her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court where she lost again. The Court ruled that she should have filed for discrimination within 180 days of her first paycheck. This would have been difficult as Lilly had no way of knowing about the discrimination until nineteen years later.

Encouraged by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Lilly Ledbetter set out to correct the wrongs of the Supreme Court. With the help of Senator Edward Kennedy, the bill was passed in the House of Representatives (247 votes in support and 171 against). On January 22, 2009 it passed the Senate 61-36. On January 29, 2009, President Barrack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Act essentially fills in the gap left by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by giving a 180 day statute of limitation for filing a lawsuit of pay discrimination after every paycheck. Ledbetter and the women who worked in the factories during WWII did so for their families. They worked an honest job for an honest day’s pay but never received their full pay. Instead they were met with sexual harassment, discrimination, and prejudice; where if a man were being discriminated against or faced prejudice in the workplace there would have been no doubt the case would have been in favor of the male employee. So...
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