April 12 2012

A Response to Lilly Ledbetter for Gov. Romney

The Hill

Sabrina Schaeffer

The Romney campaign fell off its game yesterday when a reporter asked the governor about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. Unprepared, the campaign spokesmen said, “We’ll get back to you on that.” Later, another spokeswoman added that Gov. Romney supports pay equity, but left out what he thinks about Lilly Ledbetter.

With the “War on Women” theme crescendoing, the Romney campaign can’t afford to have a slip-up like this again, so let me offer some advice on how to answer this question in the future:

Women are an extremely valuable part of our workforce. In fact, they make up nearly 50 percent of the workforce. They receive more B.A.s, M.A.s and now Ph.D.s than men. They are soaring to the top of almost every professional field, and they are the nation’s leading consumers. Let’s be very clear: Women are a valuable asset, and businesses recognize that.  

The Obama administration loves to tout the Lilly Ledbetter Act as a great accomplishment for women. The fact is, however, protective laws like this actually increase the cost of employing women — especially women of childbearing age — by creating the threat of lawsuits and uncertainty. This is not a war on women. We absolutely condemn base gender discrimination and protect the rights of those employees with legitimate grievances. But this law goes much further, encouraging frivolous lawsuits that will cripple business and reinforce the idea that the workplace is hostile toward women. Changing gender roles, improved technology and a vibrant private marketplace have given women (and men) more flexibility and choice than ever before. Don’t let government and laws like Lilly Ledbetter get in the way.

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