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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker opened up a new front in the GOP’s war against women last week when he overturned his state’s equal pay law, which made it easier for workers to sue their employers for wage discrimination. Walker, a rising star in the Republican party, has come under fire for his decision to repeal the law, which was passed largely to address Wisconsin’s huge gap in male and female wages. Since the equal pay law was passed in 2009, the state has risen from 36th to 24th in national gender pay parity rankings.
Walker has stayed remarkably silent about the move, and has yet to comment publicly on his decision. But the Daily Beast reports that his fellow Badger State Republicans have not been as quiet, arguing that wage discrimination was never really a major problem to begin with and that the equal pay law put an undue burden on businesses.
“It’s an underreported problem, but a huge number of discrimination claims are baseless,” Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman, a major force behind the repeal, told the Daily Beast. “Most of them are filed by fired employees, and really today almost anybody is a protected class.”
As a result, Grothman argued, many companies are forced to pay fired employees to go away, raising the cost of business intolerable levels. “It just puts Wisconsin way out of whack with other states,” he says. “I’m not sure there are any other states this bad off.”
But Grothman didn’t stop there. According to him, wage gaps are not the result of discrimination, but actually just a reflection of the fact that men and women prioritise earning money differently.
“You could argue that money is more important for men,” he said. “I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.”*
*Women are actually primary or co-breadwinner in two-thirds of American households.
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