Here's how the current Presidential Candidates, all of them Senators, voted on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act yesterday:
Senator John McCain: NO Senator Hillary Clinton: YES Senator Barack Obama: YES
Senator McCain's 'no' vote received FOX News coverage yesterday as he campaigned in New Orleans. An excerpt appears below, with a link to the full article here
Regarding Senator McCain's comment in the article (see excerpt) about women in the mining industry, our presentation to the MN Senate staff members (referenced in my previous post) included US Dept. of Labor data showing that more and more women are entering so-called "non-traditional" (a.k.a. historically male-dominated) industries and professions.
If you'd like more specifics on that, i.e., what industries, projected growth in women's presence by sector, etc., just let me know! And if you've never seen it, try renting North Country, a 2005 film starring Charlize Theron that's a fictionalized account of the first successful major sexual harrassment case in the USA, involving a MN mother who goes to work in the tachonite mines in the Iron Range.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to a 'proceed' vote on 4/23 that would enable the bill to continue to the Senate floor for debate. A total of 60 'yes' votes were needed to reach the debate stage -- and just three Senators blocked the bill's progress with a filibuster.
To ensure protections for fair pay, we need to gain support from three more Senators -- Senator Reid has signaled that he will bring the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to another vote! You can help keep this effort going by calling your Senators so they know you are paying close attention to the progress of this bill.
I'm including the info below about what to do if a Senator voted either 'YES' or 'NO', in case you would like to share this info with people you know who live in other States across the country.
Learn More: People who are not familiar with the Supreme Court's 2007 decision on pay discrimination in the Lilly Ledbetter case, which was the spark for this legislation, and why women and others who experience pay discrimination now have fewer options for recourse thanks to the Supreme Court's interpretation of existing Civil Rights law, can learn more here.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP First, check this link to see how the Senators from your State voted.
Time to take action -- we can get our voices heard in Congress! The Senate gathers on January 22 for hearings to review the proposed Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, as an Act of Congress is needed to restore employee protections against pay discrimination.
Read on to learn more about the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire that prompted this proposed legislation; how both are relevant to women -- including all mothers; and ways to get our voices heard in the Senate to ensure protections that support fair pay for women.
As you read, be sure to ask yourself:
How many companies broadcast -or- make data available showing that they are using discriminatory pay practices against female employees?
How many employees discover pay discrimination is happening within 180 days of when it began?
Please consider adding a link to this post in your LJ, sending emails to friends and family with this information, and doing similar things to encourage supportive action from people who are concerned about fair pay for women in the United States.
Passing along something I shared with the local Mothers & More chapter re: what the front-runner presidential candidates are saying (or not saying) about women and mothers as part of their election platforms.
I also have access to some commentary about "where the money comes from" for any of the above, as that's always among the big questions in response to any election year proposal, but that will arrive in a separate post.
As a mother (and, for another week, a mother who works outside the home) I always pay special attention to the "Mommy Wars" topics that come into my e-mail. Sometimes they come in via NOW (the National Organization for Women), and sometimes through the New York Times. But never do they seem to do justice to the complex stage of life that is Being A Mother.
While I agree with both sources that women who wish to work while raising a family deserve more options to make that a viable option (affordable quality childcare, flex scheduling, telecommuting, decent wages and health benefits, etc.), I disagree with both sources that women should, nay MUST work in order to maintain the strides of the feminist revolution. They seem to focus on society's need for women in the workforce and neglect to recognize children's need for their mother (or father), for a parent in the home. More importantly, they neglect what the woman actually wants for *gasp* herself.
You see, I was under the impression the feminist revolution was about not forcing a woman's hand. Granted, the trend used to be for women to be nearly forced to stay home. They weren't accepted in the work force and were expected to be "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen," as they saying NOW loathes so much goes. But I kind of like the phrase. To me, that conjures up an image of comfort and stability. I enjoy cooking and baking, I love the feeling of pregnancy (at least until the pains and heartburn of the third trimester kick in), and I HATE wearing socks. Do I think all women should be forced to follow my lead and live their lives as I see fit to live mine? Absolutely not.
On the other hand, there are lots of career women out there. Nothing makes them happier than getting up at 5 a.m. to go for a run, shower, and dress in a crisp business suit. They'd happily spend their days on the fast track to an excellent career with great pay. In fact, some women would be happy to work even if the pay was less than ideal. Because, let's face it, 24/7 with a toddler can be maddening.
But for some reason, NOW and the New York Times won't extend the same courtesy to moms who want to stay home. They're fighting for better pay and benefits, flex schedules and options for the working mom, even to the point of saying a stay at home mom is doing a disservice to society. But they're not fighting for those things that make staying home an option to moms who want to. How many moms are forced to work (often menial, thankless jobs) because they don't have the option of staying home, because their family is critically dependent on that extra bit of income (what's left after the high cost of day care and gasoline) to pay those last few bills?
What we should be lobbying for is, yes, more options. But more options all around. Universal healthcare so a woman who doesn't work can take care of her health, even if her husband's job doesn't provide it. Stipend payments to the stay-at-home moms who are doing the most important job this country has - raising future generations. More part-time options, more flex-scheduling, and more telecommuting.
Personally, I would love to work if I could telecommute (most of my job would be easy to do from home). But my employer won't have it, so I'm returning home, despite the slight dip in income we'll suffer. Because, for ME, spending time with my son is more important than having or giving him the finer things in life. And for ME, I have no fast-track career I'm losing out on. For ME, I'll only be in my early 40s when I'm no longer mothering a child. But that's me.
No man OR woman should be telling mothers they MUST stay home or they MUST go to work. We should be fighting for options, because that's the only true freedom.
More coverage in The New York Times, with this article showcasing MomsRising.org, home party viewings of their Motherhood Manifesto documentary, and the fact that mothers are banding together to discuss the political, social, and economic factors adversely affecting them. An extra cheer for the mention of Mothers & More and the copy of Brain,Child Magazine Kiki Peppard is holding in the opening photo.
This article from the 12/24/06 NYT Magazine so captures my train of thought about myself, about my own experiences, and about raising a daughter -- not to mention parallel thoughts of how we raise boys.
By coincidence, I'm just wrapping up a read of Miriam Peskowitz's 2005 book, The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars: Who Decides What Makes A Good Mother?. Peskowitz would say that many people who invoke Friedan, Hirshman included, have missed out on or overlooked part of Friedan's original treatise regarding work, parenting, and the goals women should be considering.
In sharing this, I wanted to move the Hirshman discussion beyond whether she's "right or wrong" into:
Do people's actual / invoked perceptions (Hirshman included) of Friedan's Feminist Mystique actually reflect what the above excerpt describes in terms of how women should envision their lives, work objectives, and potential / actual roles as mothers?, and
What do people think the impact of all the "Mommy Wars" media hype pitting at-home parents against women in the paid workplace is on women's day to day experience and/or the potential for real social change? That includes impact on women who are mothers, who are considering motherhood, who are experiencing fertility challenges in the hopes of becoming parents, and/or who are choosing to remain childfree.
Just joined this comm -- the fact that Leslie Morgan Steiner's book is the inspiration for this group is what attracted my attention!
On that note, if people resonated with her book, have you checked out Miriam Peskowitz's The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars: Who Decides What Makes a Good Mother?? I posted here with a rec about her book and here with some related web links that may be of interest to people following this comm.
As for me, I'm currently an at-home parent, though also have been in the paid workplace since becoming a parent. It makes for an interesting perspective on both situations. I'm also a nearly 4-year member of Mothers & More.
The idea behind my icon is that (a) we're all "working moms" in some way or another and (b) there's so much potential to improve the condition of all moms and families if we stop buying into the "us v. them" mentality that pits at-home moms against workplace moms and instead work together to produce social change.
Mamarevolution.com was started in early winter 2004 by four young mamas who needed a place where they belonged. Too young and alternative for babycenter and too old for the teen based online communities, they struck out to make a home for mamas who just didn’t fit in anywhere else. After a few nights of brainstorming and women sharing their talents, Mamarevolution.com was born.
Mamarevolution is a pro-choice, feminist community who seeks to support, encourage and educate young women and mothers from all backgrounds and cultures. Our goal is to provide the community and support that is so desperately needed as we fight for our rights as parents and women, and to defeat the social stereotypes that surround young or alternative parents.
While we promote breastfeeding and natural parenting, we recognize that each family is unique and has their own set of needs and customs. We respect and support all families and their allies in their quest to raise strong, positive and socially conscious children.