The new chairman, or rather, chairwoman, of Washington State’s GOP makes substantially less than the man she’s replaced. Susan Hutchison still makes $75,000 per year, but that’s $20,000 less than Kirby Wilbur made. Hutchison blames the war on women for the difference.
Budget cuts are supposedly the reason for Hutchison’s pay cut. However, Hutchison believes that the executive board’s vote violates the party’s bylaws and might be seen as “vindictive and discriminatory.” She worries that it might even play right into the hands of Democrats.
According to The Seattle Times, Hutchison also believes the pay cut blatantly goes against equal work for equal pay, and invoked the war on women in a memo she sent to her colleagues about the issue. The Board was upset that she brought it up. Or, as The Seattle Times puts it, “the conversation turned ugly and Hutchison’s request was rebuffed.” One person familiar with the dispute actually said, “There is no war on women.”
Women’s wages do not keep up with men’s, no matter what the right likes to say.
That last statement may surprise many women. Just on the issue of wages, women make less than men. GOP adviser Alex Castellanos told Rachel Maddow last year that there are many reasons for that. He claimed women work fewer hours per week than men (44 vs. 41), that women want more flexibility in their jobs, and women don’t go into the really demanding career paths like science and engineering. Others in the GOP, and even conservatives in the general population, like to use these reasons as “proof” that the pay gap doesn’t really exist.
No war on women? That attitude ignores the following facts: When you compare the same jobs with the same duties, women do make less than men. As a personal financial adviser, a woman will only make about 61% of what a man will make. As a financial manager, she’ll only make 65% of what her male counterpart will make. And as a chief executive, she’ll make a whopping 69% of what her male counterpart will make.
In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, across 534 different professions, women earn more than men in exactly 7 of them. The women in those positions account for about 3% of all working women in the U.S. While the pay gap differs from one occupation to another, it’s clear that we still don’t receive equal pay for equal work.
To make matters worse, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) fed into this front on the GOP’s war on women by saying that women don’t even want mandated equal pay. Women, she said, would rather be recognized and paid based on their merits. However, wanting to be recognized and paid based on your merits and qualifications has very little to do with equal pay. Given the sheer number of jobs out there where women are paid less, it’s hard to believe that merits and qualifications are causing it.
The GOP’s war on women comes in many forms, not just pay discrimination.
Other evidence of the GOP’s war on women comes in the form of anti-choice measures in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. Iowa tried to ban abortion even in the cases of rape and incest. They even tried to define abortion as murder. Arkansas, Indiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Missouri, Louisiana, and many more states also worked to pass anti-choice measures.
The Huffington Post provides several quotes from various GOP members and right-wingers about the war on women. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The war on women is a manufactured issue.”
Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus called it a fiction.
Steve Doocy, of Fox News, said, ” The stimulus didn’t work out so well, he’s [President Obama] got a lot of problems. So in the last couple of months, what they have done, the democrats, is they have invented this phony war on women.”
They’re never going to reach female voters as long as they continue their war on women.
None of this appears to comfort women, though. Earlier this year the GOP sought to work on recruiting more women into their ranks. They know they have a problem. They know women increasingly don’t like them. Yet they keep up with the war on women anyway, including fighting against equal pay. And they refuse to acknowledge what they’re telling women with all these messages.
It may indeed be true that Susan Hutchison’s pay has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a female. It doesn’t look that way, though. It looks far more like they decided she wasn’t worth $95,000, simply because she’s a woman, and then brought up budget cuts to justify their decision. It shouldn’t surprise anybody if, later on, the Washington GOP says, “Look! Our chairperson is a woman! There is no war on women!”
EDITORS’ NOTE: The author and Addicting Info‘s editors attempted to download the Washington State Republican Party’s bylaws to see if the vote to reduce Hutchison’s pay does, in fact, violate their bylaws. At the time of this writing, we were unable to display the bylaws or anything on their Web site at www.wsrp.org.