Ayanna Pressley Says that U.S. Constitution is Sexist, Reinforces Decade-Old Myth of Gender Pay Gap
Ayanna Presley claimed in her speech addressed to the House of Representatives that the U.S. Constitution is “sexist” and that women are still not “free.”
In her speech, the representative said: “The year is 2020 and here we women are still in so many ways not fully free, still shackled.” She added, “Women are strong, hardworking, bright, and resilient. We are the backbones of our families, our communities, and our democracy. We do not live in checked boxes; we live in an intersectionality of lived experiences and identities. Our issues are everyone’s issues because our destinies are all tied.”
Pressley added by reinforcing the myth of the gender pay gap. “In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, women are paid 83 cents for every dollar paid to a man, but nationally, women are paid only 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid. Even worse, the modern-day wage gap disproportionately impacts women of color with black women earning 61 cents, Native women earning 58 cents, Latin X women earning only 53 cents, and [Asian American and Pacific Islander] women making as little as 50 cents per dollar paid to a white man.”
Finally, Pressley claimed that women faced all these issues simply because the U.S. Constitution is sexist. “This isn’t an accident. The American Constitution is sexist by its very design, this country’s laws have historically treated us like second-class citizens, depriving us of the right to vote, enter most jobs, and to own property.”
Rep. @AyannaPressley: "The year is now 2020, and here we women are still in so many ways not fully free, still shackled.”— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 13, 2020
“We face pregnancy discrimination, discrimination in the criminal legal system … But this isn’t an accident,” U.S. is “sexist by its very design" pic.twitter.com/EduOUz4YWF
While Pressley’s speech might seem both moving and inspiring, the problem is that the congresswoman might be perpetuating false myths about American social and living conditions.
For example, the issue of the gender pay gap has been debunked a few years ago. In an article for Time magazine, scholar Christina Hoff Sommers wrote that economists have already proved that the gap myth.
As Sommers explained it, “No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.”
In fact, Sommers refutes Presley’s claim and believes that it is not the government who shackles women, but the very belief itself.
Sommers wrote “Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion.”
Sommers slammed the idea as “demeaning.” “Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot,” Sommers wrote.