Surprise, surprise: A Republican state representative doesn’t believe the pay gap exists.
In a recent interview with advocacy organization Better Wyoming, Wyoming Rep. Gerald Gay explained that the wage gap is “a fact of life” because of “the dependability issue” of whether women will show up to work.
The 60-year-old Wyoming native basically blamed women for the gender wage gap because women take more time off from work than men.
“That’s a fact of life, you know, and it’s the nature of Wyoming’s business and also the nature of gender politics,” Gay told the organization. “Men and women have different ways of going about taking time off ― moms for maternity leave and that sort of thing. Women are always going to take their full maternity leave, and there’s the dependability issue about whether they’re going to show up for things.”
Gay continued to hold women accountable for the pay gap, explaining that it’s “a gender thing.” He told Better Wyoming:
Historically [women] tend to take every sick day that’s available with them, and that’s a gender thing. They look at how many sick days you get in a year. Say you get 12 sick days a year. If they go for two years and they’ve only taken three sick days, they’re going to cash in the remaining 21 sick days. That’s a gender thing and it hurts getting [the gender wage gap] rectified. Some of the misuses and abuses that go on there, and it’s predictable, it’s statistics that are written in stone. As long as you have people who behave differently on it between the two genders, it hurts the chances of getting that gender wage gap shrunk all the way down. We’ll make small progress on it, but they won’t make it [go away].
Let’s break this down for Rep. Gay shall we?
A) One-quarter of mothers return to work less than two weeks after giving birth. So, no, not all women take their full maternity leave, for various reasons including pressure to get back to work quickly and the glaring fact that many women don’t get paid maternity leave and simply can’t afford to take time off. (They especially can’t afford it when you take into consideration that they get paid less because, well, the wage gap.)
B) If women do take all of their sick days it’s often because they don’t receive paid maternity leave, forcing them to pool their sick days and vacation time.
C) Gay ― similar to Trump’s recently announced maternity leave plan ― completely ignores the fact that fathers play a large role in raising their children and ― more and more ― are taking paternity leave.
Gay responded to criticisms that his response was sexist, telling Mic that he felt he was “unfairly represented” in the Better Wyoming interview.
Mic’s Marie Solis wrote that Gay “said he was pointing out what he admitted was a sexist ‘perception’ that women are undependable, rather than expressing his personal feelings.”
Gay disregarded the interview, saying that “reports are coming from a liberal point of view and they’re trying to paint me in as bad of a light as possible.”
“In the free market system it’s the employer’s responsibility,” Gay told Mic. “No one forces anyone to go to work anywhere. If you don’t like the wage employers are offering you, go somewhere else and get a job somewhere else.”
So... you’re blaming women again?
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