News Jul 23, 2009 at 4:00 am

Oregon Aims to Pioneer Equal Pay for Equal Work

Illustration by B T Livermore


The effect of this will likely bring men's wages down to women's, and people will leave the state searching for higher wages (on average.)

Women are paid less because they are more expensive employees. Statistically, they are out of the office more for pregnancies/child illness/child issues.

""Oregon has never waited around for other people to decide how to get things done,""

This statement could not possibly been made with a straight face.
What about women who don't have kids? Are you saying men don't have child issues? I'm pretty sure my dad took time off to take care of us just as much my mom did. There should never be unequal pay for anyone under any circumstances.
Women that don't have kids may one day have kids.
Men do have child issues but they are considered second string.
Your anecdotal evidence is cute, the realities of scale show that statistics don't lie. Women are more expensive employees.

Fine, but I'm telling you employers will not raise women's pay, they will either drop men's to match women's, and then taking a profit, or they will drop men's and raise women's to some mid-level. That there is no federal legislation means men can go elsewhere where they will be paid higher wages as a result.

I have no emotional attachment to this issue, just giving an opinion here. saying "there should never" is besides the point.
Statistically women are more expensive employees. This is true, but it is largely the result

of the broader sexist culture, which should be addressed.

As to why they are more expensive:
*Pregnancy: Paternity Leave needs to be made commensurate with maternity leave. The extra maternal time-off pre-birth can be offset with extra paternal time-off after birth.
*Men should not be second string for dealing with child illness/issues (admitedly most are)
*Certainly some women will have babies without paternal involvement, and that does indeed mean that women will be more expensive than men TO A DEGREE.

Recognition of un-equitable reality doesn't necessarily mean we should draft un-equitable policy. African Americans are disproportionately at risk for hypertension; but that DOESN'T mean that they should pay higher Health Insurance Premiums.

There are important parallels with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) enforcement.
If Oregon forced it's businesses to comply with a state-level ADA before there was a federal one, the greater equity of Oregonians with Disabilities WOULD, as you warn in the current situation, bring non-Disabled oregonians wages down a nominal amount (Compliance costs money);
Additionally this may drive some of our rational individuals to seek higher pay out of state.
This would then be an arguement for enacting a federal ADA, not to scuttle a state level ADA.

Equality has a price, detractors always exaggerate it. The price will be higher if other states don't take, or aren't forced to take, similar actions to narrow the pay gap.

*Since when did child/dependent care become a woman’s issue only? Its take two to tango, so your justification for a pay decrease is invalid.

*Additionally, one might conclude that women’s pay would increase given their increased rate of higher education achievement. However, this continues to not be the case. Thus, educational achievement no longer accounts for income discrepancies.

*Furthermore, earning a living wage is something we all should have access to, regardless of gender, race, class, or family or marital status. Considering that Oregon’s tax revenue relies on income tax, it only makes sense to increase wages. Unless we want to reevaluate measure 5 or the kicker tax measure that we are so fond of.

*Lastly, we have a social responsibility to our citizens.

-In Oregon, 1 out of 5 children under the age of 5 resides in impoverished households.

-44% of female headed households with minors in Multnomah County are at the poverty threshold.

-70% of people in poverty are "working poor".

(These statistics are readily available through PSU, US Census, Multnomah County, and OSU)

Frankly, it baffles me that there are those that continue to support and defend institutionalized socio-economic inequality. Such practices ultimately undermine our state and national progress and threatens economic stability. Furthermore, in a post-industrial economy with an aging population, social policy in desperately need to address our depleted social and human capital. While there is always a choice to do nothing, we inevitability pay more in the end when it hemorrhages and becomes a crisis.

Has anyone heard how many men, compared to women, have lost their job in this recession? 78% of all jobs lost used were jobs that used to be held by a man. And now this? C'mon.
How come I always make at least 77% more then the guys I date? Portland guys are habitually broke and thats a fact!
It should be noted that Portland sustains itself on a Pink Collar Economy and thus the majority of jobs are geared towards woman ( though this is not a positive thing; it means they're low paying and high turn-over). The result of the Pink Collar Economy is that it's harder for a man to get a wage slave job here. Though equal wage doesn't really matter because cost of living always ajusts to deflate any baseline increases--this is essentially a empty talking point like gossip or the soaps or how fat sandy got over spring break omgz!
I also continue to wonder why people not only accept, but actively uphold long standing elements of inequity in our national, state, and local governments.

Is it because we've been socialized to legitimate and comply with inequality because it's just a normalized part of our culture?

Because in working for equity, one group might have to give up some of the power and advantage they have historically enjoyed? Is this honestly what we want to perpetuate for our citizens?

Most jobs aren't set up for people who are the primary caretakers of children - regardless of gender - is that the fault of people who have children? Or those who were born with the biological capability of having children?

I ultimately see the attitude that undermines equal pay as an attitude that contributes to larger social passivity, and fails to address the fundamental issues of discrimination that we are continually entrenched in.

And yeah? It sucks. The recession sucks, and it's scary, for a lot of people - men, women, parents, children, and people across the socio-economic spectrum. However, we have a chance to implement change in Oregon for populations that have experienced disproportionate levels of poverty LONG before this recession hit.

If it feels unfair for men to be disproportionately losing their jobs - why do you think it's happening in the first place? Do you really think that the solution lies in continuing to pay women and racial minorities less?
Dear Mr. or Ms. ?pqM)mH{5i*7V7wVNiH?tcvUk'j>tH\VF5!V+00HY?jgK7@iA<_(B0Mii*:@e9Iq:

How creative. Coming up with a nom du blog by randomly pounding on a keyboard with mittens on your hands in much the manner of a lower ape. I suppose if you keep it up long enough you'll create the works of Shakespeare or at least Wm.TM.

As to your commentary; how informative. Banal, shallow, yet remarkably informative. Not of the subject at hand, but of your rather predictable positions.

Best wishes,


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