Women’s Wages (Women’s Marches, Part 2)

Women’s Marches: Women’s Wages (Equal Pay AND Equal Raises)

The question of the moment is: What Next? The discrepancy between what women are paid and how much men are remunerated for the same work will remain a defining issue in the next four years. If I were to recommend a way to channel the outrage, it would be to concentrate on the very thing that Trump has claimed to be concerned about: jobs. One cannot separate jobs from wages, nor can we allow him to make employment and the net pay (after taxes) become a masculine issue. In looking at his cabinet and his own egregious aura, one knows that his inner psychic default is to cater to the brawny voter. As a clarifying rebuke, the mental and physical dexterity, knowledge, and strength that women bring to jobs needs to be in the forefront now. A feminist occupation of occupation itself needs to become a primary outgrowth of the women’s marches. What women do and how much they are paid must be adamantly reiterated, in no uncertain terms.

As Trump puts forth proposals to increase employment, we need to remain vigilant and see how these jobs affect the incomes of working women. His campaign emphasis has been on construction jobs, which range from infrastructure (roads and bridges) to the Border Wall.
It would be fair to demand of Trump that at least 51 percent of the jobs created in anything he advocates result in the hiring of a women at the same rate of pay for that position as a man would receive, given equal experience and training.

There are two things to be aware of, in considering how to put pressure on this particular point. The first is that corporations have been sequestering their profits off-shore for some time now, and quite a substantial kitty of surplus funds has built up. The problem, from the corporations’ point of view, is that the tax rate is “too high,” and I have heard that one political horse trade under consideration is that the tax rate on this offshore money might be lowered to bring in a floodtide of funds, which would in turn be used to pay for these construction projects. It amounts to blackmail. “I’ll give you temporary jobs if you let me keep, on a permanent basis, unmentionable amounts of wealth.” The Republican party refused to let Obama move forward with a public works plan in his second term. Once again, it must be said that Obama failed to work from a position of strength in his first year of office.

Trump is inheriting an economy with more people employed than at any time since the Great Recession started ten years ago. If employment does pick up even more momentum, it will be interesting to see how the work force will sustain it. There is a relatively low rate of unemployment right now, and full employment – or anything near it – is likely to launch inflationary pressure. I wrote about this future crisis in the economy last year.

Once again, the question will be wages, and what women and the men who support feminist visions for human societies need to be vigilant about is not just that women are hired at equal pay, but that when inflation brings about the need to increase pay, the raises must also equal.