Feminist Group Won't Win by Lying about Florida's Gender-Pay Gap
Around the State
Female income inequity is real and it's wrong, but women aren't going to win the war for equal pay by blatantly lying about it.
An indignant organization called UltraViolet circulated a press release Monday, looking for quick publicity because Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport authorities, they said, refused to place their signs (one is included below) inside the airport "the day before a contentious special election in FL’s 13th Congressional District in which the 'War on Women' was front and center."
I know Social Security and Obamacare were big-ticket items in the spectacularly acidic David Jolly-Alex Sink race, but the "War on Women"? All I can think is, maybe these folks figure any opposition to the Affordable Care Act is a blow against women. It's a stretch, but maybe that's it.
I know Sink is pro-choice and Jolly is pro-life. But I don't remember that issue anywhere near the head of the line during the campaign.
The lie I'm talking about was by implication and it figured prominently in their press release. Here's what they said:
"The Florida ads are part of a national project by UltraViolet to raise awareness about which states have the worst records when it comes to gender parity."
Plain as day, UltraViolet is saying Florida has one of the worst gender-parity records.
And that's a big fat lie.
Florida isn't even close. Which I'm sure the author of the press release knew. But, hey, this is a great place for out-of-state firestarters like UltraViolet to raise money, and a great time -- Election Day with the eyes of the nation on CD 13 -- to elevate their profile. And why not stick it to the governor while we're at it? So what's a little fib when your published motto is "equality at a higher frequency"?
Now here's the truth: Every state fails to provide equal pay for women who do the same jobs as men. Every state, not just Florida. They're all sub-par.
But, get this: Florida is actually one of the more generous states when it comes to employing women. Read about it in Stateline. Sources don't get any more reliable than this nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Stateline provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.
What you'll find is, in Florida women have the fourth largest percentage of men's earnings at 84.9 -- fourth out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia. They follow only D.C. (94.8 percent), Arizona (86.8 percent) and Maryland (85.2 percent). Have a look at the whole chart for yourself.
Does this give Florida anything to brag about? Of course it doesn't.
But the attempt to capitalize on a bold-face lie is nevertheless a cheap shot from an organization that obviously blew into Florida to give Sink a helping hand in CD 13; and in so doing it established itself as an out-of-control, shady outfit with no principles and no credibility. This isn't how you win the war against discrimination.
The release came from Molly Haigh at Fitzgibbon Media in Washington, D.C. Fitzgibbon says on its website that Molly "specializes in amplifying the voices of the progressive movement in the press." I'll say.
Molly throws this quote into the release: “If Florida officials find their record on women’s equality to be embarrassing, they should work to change it, not hide it,” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet. (She was apparently talking about the sign the airport wouldn't allow.) “Women in Florida make only 84 cents to every dollar made by men, and that is unacceptable. When deciding where to spend their money, the public deserves to know which states are using those dollars to perpetuate discrimination, like Florida.”
It's not easy for a feminist group to lose me -- I've been a serial contributor to women's causes for more than 40 years, but UltraViolet's tactics and dishonesty -- not even the partisanship -- have managed to turn me off like a power grid in a blackout.
Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews or 228-282-2423.