Maine Women Online

The Maine Women's Lobby is dedicated to legislative action on behalf of Maine women and girls. Since our formation in 1978, we have held true to the vision that women and girls should have economic security, access to health care, and freedom from violence and discrimination.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Judge Roberts On Equal Pay for Women

According to the Portland Press Herald, Roberts wrote in a memo referencing Washington State’s comparable pay law on Feb. 20, 1984, "Their slogan may as well be 'From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender.” Further, he calls the perspective of those supporting the law –including the perspective of Senator Olympia Snowe “Radical.”

As the Portland Press Herald described “The case was based on a 1973 study in Washington that evaluated jobs with a point system. It found jobs ranked with comparable points paid 20 percent less when held predominantly by women. Snowe and the other women lawmakers supported a U.S. District Court decision that found Washington State guilty of discrimination and ordered a settlement of back pay and raises.”

The right to comparable pay for jobs of equal skill, effort, and responsibility is well understood by the state of Maine. The hard work of the Maine Women’s Lobby in forcing implementation and recognition of the Equal Pay Law has lead to a common understanding that the wage gap persists in large part because women continue to work in occupations that pay less –and that these occupations pay less precisely because they are jobs commonly held by women. Roberts' perspective on this issue--itself somewhat radical--should be troubling for Maine women.
The full article can be viewed here: