I already know I am going to piss everyone off with this posting so bring it!
This week in Washington the Democrats played mean eight grade girl politics and pushed for a vote on a pay equality bill which died in the Senate: http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_20790507/senate-bill-pay-equality-fails-proceed
The Dems basically want to get the Republicans on the record voting against anything that might be viewed as pro-woman as they build their case for the Republicans being a bunch of misogynistic pigs. So while, as a woman, I support the bill I really, really, really hate, as a woman, being used as a pawn in a game. But you know, I’m not surprised, as that’s how DC operates most of the time.
Let me be clear I support that bill. It’s main purpose was to pierce the cone of silence that surrounds unfair treatment of women in the workplace. Specifically it would allow workers to discuss pay and compensation openly, without threat of retaliation by their employer. On the surface it seems silly that there’d even have to be legislation around this issue. Until, that is, you get a few glasses of wine in a group of working women. We all have our own horror stories to share – kind of like veterans comparing war wounds – fighting for the same expense accounts and car allowances that are handed out to male colleagues, having commissions cut while on maternity leave, downsized while seven months pregnant.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s some mass conspiracy to keep us women in our places – you know barefoot and pregnant. I just think we as a society still hold onto a lot of old school thinking that doesn’t reflect the current state of affairs. For instance, when I got pregnant with my first child everyone asked me if I was going to stay home. I mean EVERYONE. To the point I considered having a t-shirt made up that read: No, I am not staying home. After one particularly lousy day at the office, where I had spent half the day convincing people I wasn’t bailing after I had the baby I turned to my husband and asked him how many people had asked him if he would be staying home with the baby. He, knowing there was no safe answer, did what every husband does when faced with an unwinnable situation; he just stared at me blankly.
The sad truth is I had to go back to work. And most women who work do it because our families depend on our income – especially given the current global economic crises. But there’s still this underlying mentality that men are the breadwinners and the cornerstone of our families finances. There has to be or just as many people would have asked my husband about his commitment to return to work once our first child was born.
To me that’s the sad part of the death of the pay equality legislation. I think it would have created an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about the things we either keep to ourselves or vent about over a glass of chardonnay. I guess I’ll just have to organize more happy hours.