dimanche, avril 27, 2008
More on Ledbetter
After reading Lithwick's essay (see the last post), and the commentary by Gail Collins in the Saturday NYT, I've been thinking about this decision-and reconsidering my own distaste for the confrontational style embraced by many women a bit older than me.
When we vote in the fall, women, and men who aren't living in the 19th century with regard to bigotry, will also need to consider the blatant anti-female bias revealed in the Ledbetter decision-and the choice by Republicans to block a bill that would make it possible for other women to seek justice.
Here's a paragraph from the Lithwick (Slate) commentary on the Ledbetter case:
"On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have overturned a Supreme Court ruling (PDF) that sharply limited pay-discrimination suits based on gender under Title VII. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear (2007), the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, held that the clock for the statute of limitations on wage discrimination begins running when the employer first makes the decision to discriminate, and does not run for all the subsequent months—or in this case, years—that the disparate paychecks are mailed. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, found that the plaintiff in this case, Lilly Ledbetter, was time-barred from filing her discrimination suit because it took more than 180 days after she first got stiffed to discover that she was being stiffed on account of her gender. The court agreed her jury verdict should be overturned"
Was I ticked that women would be treated as though they were a lesser life form? Yes, of course.
But I was also outraged by a decision that defies logic-how many people... male or female... know within 180 days that they are not getting as much salary as another person holding the same job?
I'm also wondering if post women's movement women like me should be so complacent.
I find Hillary Clinton's pull no punches style abrasive, and sometimes offensive-as many do.
But it seems as if, when women start to relax, they find themselves the victims not only of subtle, but of in your face injustice. Maybe some of the women who came before us were smarter than we want to admit. Maybe we can't take for granted that we are going to be treated as equals-particularly by men who have an interest in grinding their heels not just in women's faces, but in those who dare to challenge the powerful interests that fuel the highly politicized Supreme Court.