On Friday, the House of Representatives–voting largely along party lines–approved two measures aimed achieving gender pay equity. The bills–the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act–aim to close loopholes in existing equal pay protections and make it easier for employees to sue for discrimination.
However, Grand Rapids Republican Vern Ehlers sees this as too controversial and voted against the bill, along with fellow West Michigan Republican Pete Hoekstra. In the past, Ehlers has voted against similar bills when they have come up. Republicans have criticized the bills claiming that they will pave the way for excessive lawsuits.
Also, while it might not be directly related to this vote, Ehlers has referred to himself in print as a “recovering sexist.” It seems that a simple step towards undoing some of the sexism in our culture would be voting for legislation that attempts to address longstanding disparities between what men and women earn.
To this day, women continue to earn only 77.8% of what men earn.