Texas Republicans and the Fight for Women

“Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace”- former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn).

With quotes like this one from Republican leaders, it has been clear in recent times that Republicans (especially in Texas) and the fight for women voters clearly just do not mix. A year after the Republicans made it a point to start trying to close the voting gender gap among women, this “new” promotion of women coming from the right appears to be the same old, same old… only they have women speaking instead of men. In particular, for women in Texas, the problem now just does not lie in the hands of Republican men but also in the hands of Republican women. Today, after the executive editor of Red State Women PAC, Cari Christman, stated that women are “too busy” to focus on equal pay and that gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis should focus more on creating jobs and access to education, the executive director of the Texas Republican Party, Beth Kubriel, has told media that Texas women simply “need to become better negotiators.”

In the state of Texas, men make an average of $44,802 and women take home an average of $35,453… roughly 79 cents to every dollar a man would make. This fight for equal pay for equal work has now taken to the forefront of the Governor’s race in Texas and because of that, Wendy Davis is recently surging in the polls. Just today, two new key issues have surfaced out of the Greg Abbott campaign. As reported in the San Antonio Express-News, Attorney General and Republican hopeful to replace Gov. Rick Perry, Greg Abbott has been paying his female assistant attorney generals roughly $6,000 less than his male assistant attorney generals. It gets even worse with the difference in pay among the other employees in Abbott’s office. In Abbott’s office, women employees get paid roughly $15,000 less than men employees. Also reported today, Abbott finally has stopped dodging questions about the Lilly Ledbetter law directed at him from the Davis campaign. Abbott ’s campaign adviser has reported that if Greg Abbott had been Governor of Texas when GOP Governor Rick Perry vetoed a state version of the Lilly Ledbetter law last year, that he would have vetoed it as well. The Lilly Ledbetter law states that an employee has the right to sue over pay discrimination 180 days after the last discriminatory paycheck had been received. Last year, Wendy Davis had brought a bill to the Texas legislature that would have made the same change to state law, allowing people to bring their claims in to state courts rather than federal courts.

It is not quite certain why Republican women in Texas feel the need to not fight back in the fight for equal pay, but one thing is for certain: if Republicans feel that putting these women on the forefront of fights like this in order to close a gender gap among women voters, the Republicans could have the same autopsy report after the 2016 campaign. The fight for women voters in Texas will seem to wage on, but it would appear that after Republicans like AG Greg Abbott, stating that he would veto a state version of the Ledbetter law, and Beth Kubriel, claiming that the problem is that women are not good negotiators, that they have officially turned the page on women votes in Texas.

Written by Ryne Vyles

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