Politics & Media
May 05, 2008, 05:50AM

Working Girls

For all young women entering the workforce, feminist politics are alive and well. More than a decade after the first Clinton campaign made maternity leave a national issue, Mrs. Clinton's current quest is helping raise awareness of pay discrimination.

"We say America is the land of equality, that everyone has a fair shot. We idealize what we have grown up believing is true: No one in America should be treated any differently than another.

Yet women still get paid 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Women are often punished financially for maternity leave, as they must take more time off from work when they have children, and they are therefore less likely to fill management positions. The jobs women tend to fill, such as teaching and nursing, have significantly lower salaries than those that are predominantly male. Even on a subjective basis, some employers are likely to pay a man more because he will produce "higher-quality" work.

But America is still the land of opportunity, and we like to think our government attempts to rectify such disparities. Our government disappoints me.

In fact, it began with a disappointment at the Supreme Court last year - Ledbetter v. Goodyear. The case was simple: Lilly Ledbetter realized years into her employment at Goodyear Tire she was being paid less than her male equivalents, and she filed suit claiming sex discrimination. The court ruled she no longer had the right to sue since she did not file within six months of the first discriminatory paycheck.



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