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Wisconsin state senator says ‘money’s more important for men’

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Denise Turner
WVoN co editor

The Republican governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker last week repealed the state’s 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act.

According to Wisconsin state representative Christine Sinicki, a Democrat co-author of the original law, it’s one in a series of anti-working class acts that has included the dismantling of unions.

Combined with conservative attacks on reproductive rights; the ending of the Act, which allowed victims of workplace discrimination to seek damages in state courts, is a particularly serious blow to women by Walker, whose policies  extend to every aspect of their lives.

They also represent a dangerous trend in conservative reactionism that could have potentially devastating consequences for women and women’s health.

Though the Act was enacted largely in response to Wisconsin’s large gap between men and women’s pay (in 2009 it ranked 36th in the US in terms of gender pay parity), it also offered protection from discrimination based on race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and other factors.

Republican state senator, Glenn Grothman, a vocal supporter of the Act’s abolition, said: “You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.

“To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.”

Fatima Goss Graves at the National Women’s Law Center said: “The idea that pay discrimination is a myth is a myth in and of itself. Study after study has shown the exact opposite.”

Her view is supported by Linda Meric, national director of 9to5, an organization devoted to working women’s issues who said:

“Scott Walker and the Wisconsin state legislature are rolling back the clock on women’s rights, putting women’s economic security in greater jeopardy at the exact moment that they should be assisting women to get ahead in this tough economy,”

Unfortunately for working people and women, Walker is in line to become the third governor in US history ever to be recalled to the senate.

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