Want Better Pay for Women? Update Those Regs

It's exciting that President Obama wants to narrow the gender wage gap, as was widely reported Friday. Here's a good first step: updating federal contracting regulations. It hasn't been done since Jimmy Carter was in office and an overhaul is long overdue.

When Metropolitan Congregations United campaigned to get more minority and women workers hired on the $535 million dollar rebuild of I-64 project, they ran up against the outdated regs. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), with lots of community input, created a work-around. At the end of the project, minorities and women put in 27% of the work hours and finished the project 3 weeks early, a terrific record, which most other DOTs have yet to meet.

Gamaliel and other groups are leading a campaign to update the regs, detailed in these pages last month.

Would we put up with 30 year old regulations for our schools, the Food and Drug Administration or for social service programs? It's a ridiculous thought. Yet regulations that haven't been changed since 1980 are short changing women and minorities every day.

So when President Obama pledges to improve the economic plight of women this is where he should start.

Your pen (and the women who probably helped to manufacture it), are waiting Mr. President.