Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Truck Drivers, Librarians, and Equal Pay

Let's take a short break from Evolution Week.

One of the Minneapolis-St. Paul "alternative" newspapers has taken up blogging. They address the unsurprising revelation that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts was against the concept of comparable worth when he worked in the Reagan Administration. The "alternative" blog quips that Roberts was "very concerned about women actually wanting equal pay for equal work."

But Judge Roberts and the White House should not backtrack one bit on this 20 year-old position of the nominee. Comparable worth abandons the equal work portion of the equation. By arguing that predominantly male occupations have higher wages than predominantly female occupations, comparable worth advocates seek to avoid wages based on market forces. Moreover, the concept reinforces stereotypes, rather than breaking them down. Instead of encouraging women to go into truck driving and men to become librarians, proponents of this controversial doctrine would leave untouched the gender disparities between professions and simply throw money at the situation.

I would be concerned if a nominee for the bench actually favored comparable worth. My first question in the hearings would be where he thought judges ranked on the comparable worth of occupations. Certain senators and certain journalists would rank very low, in my opinion.

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