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Policy Issue:

Equality for Women

Women and men are equal. They deserve equal protection under the law and equal pay for equal work. But women and men are not the same. The misnamed Equal Rights Amendment, the misleading Equality Act, and the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act, while well intended, would all ultimately harm women and girls.


Tell your senators to reject the Equal Rights Amendment.

Don’t ERAse Women
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

The ERA was heavily pushed in the 1970s but failed to garner enough support to become a Constitutional Amendment. Today, some want to combine 1970s-era ratifications with those from today. But this strategy clearly violates the spirit of Article V, which sets a high bar to ensure that changes to the Constitution are only made with overwhelming popular support. Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a proponent of the Amendment, has said ratification would require starting over.

The ERA would jeopardize hundreds of laws designed to specifically address the unique needs of women and the demands of motherhood, including the Women, Infants, and Children program and Spousal Social Security Benefits. The ERA could take away women-only spaces such as sports teams, bathrooms and locker rooms, detention or prison centers, single-sex dormitories at public colleges and universities, sororities and other female-only clubs, singing groups, or health centers at state colleges and universities, shelters for the homeless/battered.

The ERA In 60 Seconds

THE EQUALITY ACT

Ironically, the Equality Act will treat some people less equally than others. It will harm women and girls, turn disagreements on issues of sexuality and identity into unlawful discrimination, and threaten parental and conscience rights. In particular, it will:  

  • Open women-only spaces (including locker rooms, battered women’s shelters, prisons, and bathrooms) to men.  
  • Destroy women’s sports by requiring that biological males be allowed to compete with and against female athletes.  
  • Limit freedom of speech for those who believe that biological sex is an immutable characteristic.  
  • Threaten the rights of parents and doctors who do not approve of procedures to alter sex.  
  • Force religious organizations to stop providing educational and other charitable services. 

We should, of course, treat all people equally and with dignity, but the Equality Act would trample on the rights of some in favor of others and endanger vulnerable women and children.

The Equality Act In 60 Seconds

THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT

The Paycheck Fairness Act and other efforts to close the male-female wage gap are based on a bad premise — that the wage gap is primarily the result of discrimination against women. But the raw wage gap doesn’t measure “equal pay for equal work” because it doesn’t account for many factors that can affect pay, including choice of profession, hours on the job, work conditions, training and education, seniority, and other compensation/benefits. 

The Paycheck Fairness Act would not outlaw sex-based wage discrimination (because another law, the 1963 Equal Pay Act, already did this). Instead of boosting women’s paychecks, the PFA would boost those of trial lawyers by:

  • Allowing unlimited damages against employers
  • Requiring workers to opt out of (rather than into) any class action lawsuit
  • Putting the burden of proof on employers to justify any pay disparity

This increased legal exposure would threaten workers’ flexible work arrangements (because employers will be more likely to adopt rigid, one-size-fits-all arrangements to protect themselves) and would discourage the hiring and advancement of women, who would be viewed as a legal risk.

Pay Equity In 60 Seconds

How Do I Talk About These Issues?

The Equal Rights Amendment

The ERA is expired. Women and men are equal, but we are not the same. Under the U.S. Constitution, as well as state and federal statutes, men and women are already legally equal.

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The Wage Gap

The raw wage gap is not a measure of equal pay for equal work. Overall, men and women make different choices. But the Paycheck Fairness Act won’t close the wage gap.

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