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Reader's view: Men should support act requiring equal pay for women

This is in response to the letter against the Women’s Economic Security Act (Reader’s View: “There are valid reasons for gender pay inequality,” April 22). The writer seemed nostalgic for the distant past when men were “common-sense little guys” and their women were “reality-based.” He must have forgotten that President Calvin Coolidge’s era favored the big businessman and contributed to the Great Depression.

The writer also pointed out that the wage disparities between men and women were because women don’t want to get dirty or do dangerous work. Where has he been the last 30 years? Women do work in the mining industry and coal mines and on oil rigs — when they can get hired. It took the courts to get equal treatment for women in these male-dominated industries. Apparently he has not been paying attention. Young women have been enrolling in engineering and trades programs so they can work in traditionally male jobs, but it will take time to see the change that will raise pay equity. Until then pay equity legislation may be necessary.

A job shift for men occurred some 30 years ago when the mining industry experienced a downturn and it looked as though the jobs would not be coming back. Many miners retrained for jobs outside the industry, such as education and health care. Women already in these industries did not suggest the men were not compassionate or caring enough to do these jobs. In fact, men were welcomed because management was more willing to raise pay for men who were traditionally seen as family breadwinners.

If life was fair, laws like the pay equity bill would not be necessary — but life isn’t fair and such laws are necessary. Men should support the pay equity laws because a rising tide raises all boats. Their fishing boats will rise, too.

Mary Jane Damjanovich