American women’s football star Megan Rapinoe testified Wednesday before the US Congress on wage inequality between men and women, calling for action without “waiting” to close the still glaring differences at all levels of income. A fight supported by President Joe Biden, who will receive her with other footballers in the afternoon at the White House to mark the “day of equal pay”.
This day marks the extra time it takes for Americans to catch up with the salary pocketed by their male colleagues last year: almost three months. Striker Megan Rapinoe, two-time world champion with the United States, claims with the entire women’s football team to be paid as much as their male counterparts, much better paid despite inferior sporting results.
In 2019, the international players attacked their federation to obtain parity, without success so far. “It is simply unacceptable that we are still fighting for equal pay“, launched the 35-year-old footballer before a parliamentary committee of the House of Representatives.”If it happens to us, if it happens to me, when we are in the spotlight all the time, it does of course happen. ” to all women, she continued.
For every dollar earned by a man, a woman earns 82 cents, explained the Democratic chair of this parliamentary committee, Carolyn Maloney. And the differences widen even more steeply for African American women (60 cents) and Hispanic women (55 cents). The situation is repeating itself “for virtually every job we have data on“, said Nicole Mason, president of the center”Institute for Women’s Policy Research“which fights for economic parity.
It does not come “women’s individual choices” But “systematic underestimation of the talent, abilities and contribution of women to the world of work“, she insisted.”If we do nothing, women will not achieve economic parity with men before 2059. And for women of color, it will take more than a century.“, she stressed.”But we don’t have to wait “, said Megan Rapinoe. “We can change that right now, you just have to have the will.“
However, Congress should be slow to act, amid deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday March 19 promised new text for “strengthen and modernize“The 1963 Equal Pay Act would be passed in the lower house in April. Despite their very narrow majority, however, the Democrats will probably not have enough votes to then advance consideration of this bill to a vote in the Senate.
The arguments of House Republicans against this text varied during the hearing. For the elected Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel military school, the salary differences cannot be explained by a “widespread discrimination“but because the”women in general are willing to trade higher pay for more flexibility“.”We’re talking about the free market, and freedomAnother Republican, Pat Fallon, asked why, if such differences existed, companies did not employ only women.
“It doesn’t work like that“, replied Nicole Mason, stressing that it did not exist”not a sector dominated by women where they earn more than men“. Pending a breakthrough by parliamentarians, Joe Biden’s vast recovery plan, adopted in March in Congress, particularly targets women. Because if the inequalities were already deep, the pandemic has further accentuated the differences. With devastating effects, Nancy Pelosi lamented in a statement: “Millions of women who lost their jobs and over two million who were forced.“