Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has been working very hard to make inroads with the women of the state, many of whom, his campaign is concerned, would prefer his rival Democrat Wendy Davis when voting day comes. The worries aren’t misplaced; between tightening voter ID laws that could have a disproportionate impact on female voters, disseminating family planning funding, proposing regulations to close most of the abortion clinics in the state and refusing to expand Medicaid so more of the state’s uninsured could get coverage, the Texas GOP has systematically weighed in against nearly every aspect of the economic, healthcare and voting landscape that benefits women in the state.
Using women as campaign surrogates was expected to help Abbott better relate to women voters’ needs. Unfortunately, Abbott’s campaign spokeswomen aren’t any better at addressing the GOPs failure when it comes to women’s equality, especially economically.
Twice this week, Abbott surrogates have attempted to explain why equal pay measures aren’t necessary, despite the fact that women still continue to make less than male counterparts when they are working the same job and have the same experience. Cari Cristman, the executive director of a new GOP super PAC dedicating itself to winning Texas women voters, told a Dallas television station that equal pay laws are unnecessary since women are too “busy” to care about fair pay
“Well, if you look at it, women are extremely busy,” Cristman told WFAA TV. “We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It’s a busy cycle for women and we’ve got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what’s practical? And we want more access to jobs. We want to be able to get a higher education degree at the same time that we’re working or raising a family.”
Of course, equal pay wouldn’t stop any of these other “busy” things occupying women from still happening, and would actually make obtaining more education or raising a family easier since, if we were making full pay in comparison to a male in the same job, we wouldn’t have to work so many extra hours to earn the same take home pay as a man with the same position.
Cristman may believe that women don’t want fair and equal pay, but Texas Republican Party executive director Beth Cubriel thinks the real fault lies with women themselves for not being aggressive, like men are, during salary negotiations. “Men are better negotiators,” she told YNN’s “Capital Tonight.” “I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”
Of course, GOP women unable to effectively advocate good reasons to be against fair pay isn’t just a Texas problem. Minnesota state Rep. Andrea Keiffer, in attempting to argue against the state’s proposed equal pay bill as part of a new women’s economic security policy platform, told the state that asking for pay equity actually hurt women and made them look like “whiners.”
“We heard several bills last week about women’s issues and I kept thinking to myself, these bills are putting us backwards in time,” State Rep. Andrea Keiffer said in a hearing, reports Huffington Post. “We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women and almost making us look like whiners.”
The implications are clear — women want to be paid less for the same work, so we can have outside interests. If we really wanted more money, we’d be aggressively asking for it, except, we can’t ask for more money because then we are whiners asking for special favors rather than being happy with what we receive so we can do these other, outside interests. Outside interests which coincidentally enough, appear to be obtaining more education, necessary in order to earn as much as men with less education, or taking care of our children, which we apparently are bearing the brunt of so our male partners can focus on their jobs, which bring in bigger paychecks.
No wonder the GOP is having such a hard time reaching women voters. Regardless of the gender of the mouth making the argument, the policies are still ones that simply don’t help women.