Fox & Friends attacked the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation aimed at addressing the wage inequality between men and women, with Fox host Dan Perino claiming the legislation is just a "distraction." In fact, wage inequality is real: Study after study has found that women are paid less than men.
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Paycheck Fairness Act Tries To Remedy Gender Wage Discrimination
Paycheck Fairness Act: Despite Previous Laws, "Many Women Continue To Earn Significantly Lower Pay Than Men For Equal Work." From S.797, the Paycheck Fairness Act:
Congress finds the following:
(1) Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
(2) Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
(3) The existence of such pay disparities--
(A) depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet;
(B) undermines women's retirement security, which is often based on earnings while in the workforce. [S.797, 4/12/11]
Wash. Post: "Senate Democrats Will Soon Hold A Vote On The Paycheck Fairness Act." From The Washington Post:
It's official: Senate Democrats will soon hold a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a senior Democratic Senate aide confirms to me.
"This vote is going to happen," the aide says. [The Washington Post, 4/27/12]
Fox Dismisses The Need For The Paycheck Fairness Act
Fox's Perino: Paycheck Fairness Act Is A "Distraction." On the April 30 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News host Dana Perino asserted the Paycheck Fairness Act was a "distraction," arguing the legislation could "actually hurt women."
STEVE DOOCY(co-host): What about over the last month or two we've heard a lot about the war on women and now the Democrats in the Senate are coming out with the Paycheck Fairness Act. What is going on politically here that bothers you?
DANA PERINO (co-host of Fox News' The Five): Well that it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the bigger, major financial issues that this country should try to be dealing with. This is not a job creator. This will actually -- there is an argument that it could actually hurt women. I'm for equal pay for women for doing the work that they do. I'm also for flexibility for women to be able to go to different companies, shop around for where they want to work for the best sort of benefits they can get or some flexibility, because women are also helping raise the next generation of people. Interesting story in The Wall Street Journal today that there is an amazing crop of women right now that are on the verge of becoming CEO in the next five to ten years.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Hope so.
PERINO: That's major improvement, and they will fight for the salaries that their male colleagues get.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): But can that play politically against Mitt Romney?
PERINO: Maybe for 48 hours. This is not going to be a long-running thing. They've chosen these issues where for a week at a time, there will be a distraction. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/30/12]
But Women Are Paid Less In The United States Than Men
U.S. Census: "In 2010, The Female-To-Male Earnings Ratio Was 0.77." From a September 2010 Census report titled "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010":
Changes between 2009 and 2010 in the real median earnings of men and women, aged 15 and older who worked full time, year round, were not statistically significant. In 2010, the female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.77, not statistically different from the 2009 ratio
Neither men nor women who worked full time, year round experienced a change in real median earnings between 2009 and 2010. In 2010, the median earnings for men was $47,715 and for women $36,931. In 2010, the female-to-male earnings ratio of full-time, year-round workers was 0.77, not statistically different from the 2009 ratio.
[U.S. Census Bureau, September 2011]
American Association Of University Women: "The Pay Gap Affects Women From All Backgrounds, At All Ages, And Of All Levels Of Educational Achievement." From a 2012 American Association of University Women report titled "The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap" which identifies wage inequality that crosses the divides of ethnicity, age, and education:
The pay gap affects women from all backgrounds, at all ages, and of all levels of educational achievement, although earnings and the gap vary depending on a woman's individual situation.
Among full-time workers in 2011, Hispanic, Latina, and African American women had lower weekly median earnings compared with white and Asian American women. But within racial/ethnic groups, African American and Hispanic or Latina women experienced a smaller gender pay gap compared with men in the same group than did white and Asian American women.
Earnings for both female and male full-time workers tend to increase with age, with a plateau after 45 and a drop at age 65 and older. The gender pay gap also grows with age, and differences among older workers are considerably larger than gaps among younger workers.
As a rule, earnings increase as years of education increase for both men and women. While more education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not an effective tool against the gender pay gap. At every level of academic achievement, women's median earnings, on average, are less than men's median earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education (Figure 6).
[American Association of University Women, 2012]
Institute For Women's Policy Research: "Women's Median Earnings Are Lower Than Men's In Nearly All Occupations." From an April 2012 fact sheet from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) that documents widespread gender wage disparity across occupations:
Women's median earnings are lower than men's in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. During 2011, median weekly earnings for female full-time workers were $684, compared with $832 per week for men, a gender wage ratio of 82.2 percent (Table 1; a gender wage gap of 17.8 percent). Added to the gender wage gap within occupations is the gender wage gap between occupations. Male-dominated occupations tend to pay more than female-dominated occupations at similar skill levels, particularly at higher levels of educational attainment. Tackling occupational segregation is an important part of tackling the gender wage gap.
The gender wage gap and occupational segregation--men primarily working in occupations done by men, and women primarily working with other women--are persistent features of the U.S. labor market. Only four of the 20 most common occupations for men and the 20 most common occupations for women overlap. Four of ten women (39.5 percent) work in traditionally female occupations and between four and five of ten male workers (44.5 percent) work in traditionally male occupations; only 5.8 percent of women work in traditionally male occupations and only 4.6 percent of men in traditionally female occupations. [Institute for Women's Policy Research, April 2012]