Lawson Labels Gender Pay Inequity a “Myth” on Equal Pay Day

Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R-Brentsville) took the opportunity provided by April 4 being “Equal Pay Day” to denounce gender pay inequity as a “myth.”

Equal Pay Day was established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to increase public awareness of the gap between wages for men and women. The date itself is supposed to symbolize how far into the year women have to work to equal what men made the prior year. At the Board of County Supervisors meeting on April 4, Supervisor Frank Principi (D-Woodbridge) proposed recognition of Equal Pay Day.

Supervisor Lawson led the opposition to Principi’s efforts, claiming that gender pay inequity is a “myth.” She attributed the well-documented pay differential between men and women to women making “low-paying” “career choices”, such as work in “social services, community organization, counseling and psychology,” and “education.” This is partly because, according to Lawson, “women by nature also have that motherly role,” noting that she had chosen that her “husband be the provider of our family.

According to Lawson, this all “boils down to choices that women are making.” If businesses actually were paying women less, Lawson claimed, “women would be getting all the jobs” because “businesses are about the bottom line.” Lawson went on to characterize gender pay inequity as “liberal hype,” “led by feminists, celebrities, and politicians that are simply not just educated about what the facts are on any of this.

After Supervisor Principi offered additional statistics to support his motion, Lawson doubled-down on her opposition. Apparently comparing the issue to reproductive choice for women (of which Lawson is a well-documented opponent), Lawson noted that women often speak about “choice” in other contexts, and here should recognize that gender pay inequity is because of the choices women make. Women “for decades”, according to Lawson, “have been choosing careers that are lower-paying. It isn’t until recently,” she asserts, “that women are starting to go to college and study things like engineering.” Lawson also stated her belief that claims of gender pay inequity must be false or there would be more women in these higher paying positions. “If it is cheaper to hire women, folks,” said Lawson, “why wouldn’t businesses just hire women.” It’s all just a “bunch of liberal political hype,” she concluded.

Lawson’s opposition led to the demise of Principi’s motion recognizing Equal Pay Day, with Supervisors Ruth Anderson (R-Occoquan), Pete Candland (R-Gainesville), and Corey Stewart (R-At Large) voting with Lawson.

21 comments on “Lawson Labels Gender Pay Inequity a “Myth” on Equal Pay Day

  1. -

    This is painful to watch. Ms. Lawson is basically saying that businesses wouldn’t do anything wrong if it costs them money. This is a sign of a sheltered, privileged life or a total ignorance of history. Does she not realize how many hundreds of millions of dollars businesses gave up to avoid serving black people for decades and decades? You can make arguments about how best to tackle pay inequity, but Lawson’s comments show reasoning beneath a fifth grader. It’s a problem for Prince William County that we have someone with such poor thinking skills in government.

  2. -

    If Ms Lawson were speaking at a meeting in the 1950’s when the dominant career choices for women were teacher, secretary, or nurse, she would be accurate in her assessment. However, Miss Lawson needs to get a history lesson about the women’s movement and move into the 21st century. She is no credit to the female sex!

  3. -

    When I was in education school I was exposed to historical research showing that teachers were mostly men before the Civil War but when the men went off to war school boards discovered that women would for less. In the 21st century we ought to leave such thinking in the past where it belongs.

  4. -

    This article made me sick to my stomach. How much longer am I going to have to fight this same crap?

  5. -

    My mother died in her 80s and had a science degree. She spent her whole life getting paid less than male coworkers in a chemical company. Jeanine Lawson doesn’t know what she’s talking about and she dishonors the memory of all the women who sacrificed to get any of the equality she enjoys.

  6. -

    Lawson needs to see the movie “Hidden Figures.”

  7. -

    Where did Lawson learn about economics and business? Fantasy University?

  8. -

    Sounds like Trump University.
    Where facts are what you want them to be…

  9. -

    This is very sad, but since Lawson mentioned the field the psychology is not hard to figure out. Lawson has always strongly supported policies that disadvantage women but benefit her personally by making her a darling of conservative white males thus elevating her in the conservative wing of the Republican Party. She knows this and the only way she can rationalize her actions that so harm women to benefit her personally is to claim that facts are not facts.

  10. -

    Lawson tried to boost her credibility by citing a report, but then she basically lied about what the report says. It says that the pay gap is partly due to choices women make and that segregation in occupations by gender has decreased as women have entered traditionally male professions. It goes on to say that women continue to be paid less even in those higher salary fields despite equal education and experience. Either Lawson isn’t intelligent enough to connect these elements in the report or she deliberately misled people when she cited it.

  11. -

    Does anyone know if Jeanine Lawson has ever been in the work force? Sounds like she has no experience of what women have actually gone through.

  12. -

    Here’s what’s going on. Lawson and Candland come from far-right positions that used to believe that a woman’s place was solely in the home. As that became untenable in society they evolved to letting women do modest work as long as it did not interfere in any way with very conservative, traditional obligations as wife and mother. For women to enter the workforce and then complain about pay disparity is to those coming from the Lawson and Candland tradition a betrayal of their “generosity” in letting women work outside the home at all.

  13. -

    No secret why they wanted Lawson to do this. They wanted a woman to do it, Maureen Caddigan wouldn’t play ball with them, and Ruth Anderson can’t put a coherent thought together on her own.

  14. -

    Then there is the religious element–where God tells the woman she is the weaker vessel and must obey her husband.

    Corey doesn’t belong to a religion that dictates that but 2 of them for a fact do belong to a church where women are second class citizens.

  15. -

    There was one hilarious part to all this. It was Lawson pronouncing so strongly that she employees 3 women in her office! What the hell does that mean?!!! That it would have been cheaper to hire men? That she was saving the taxpayer money by hiring women? That she must be an expert on the subject because she’s hired women? It was totally ridiculous and made her look foolish.

  16. -

    Yes, what did Lawson mean by that stupid statement about hiring women. Gasp! She has hired 3 women for her office.

  17. -

    There are numerous studies and reports out there, some which require digging in academic databases, that expose how Lawson has cherry-picked one factor that everyone agrees contributes to the gender pay gap (women’s job choices), and uses it to act as if there is no issue. That’s particularly shameful for an elected official. Here’s one report that shows how women with similar grades, majors, and jobs, start out at a lower salary than male colleagues, which right away puts them behind the eight ball since subsequent salary is often based on prior salary history. Lawson should “actually” do her homework before being so self-righteous.

    https://dli.mt.gov/Portals/57/Publications/dli-com-ep001.pdf

  18. -

    Lawson’s term will be up in two years. Clinton carried the district last year. We can only hope that this will mobilize opposition and wake up the majority that skips off year elections. If she won’t change then her office has to be changed.

  19. -

    The problem here is very simple. Lawson had zero credentials when it came to being a “qualified” candidate as far as job experience outside her home. Her credentials were her many positions within the local GOP committee led by men who are stuck in the 20th century. From what I been told even in those positions she did a terrible job often missing in action. She is a idealogue just like Candland who comes from a religion where women are treated like second class citizens. Neither can help themselves.
    Candland has women in his office because both him and his [edited out] can control them. Lawson has her “best friends” in her office because no man with any brain wants to work in her office if offered the job.

    None of this is rocket science!

  20. -

    PWC ignorance is right on the money. You can redact all you like but “fact is fact.”

    As for Candland, he belongs to a church where women are ex-communicated for feminist ideas if they don’t comply with church thinking. (See Mormon feminist Kate Kelly)

    People are entitled to whatever religious beliefs they want. However, I don’t want those beliefs to become county policy.

  21. -

    The Virginia State Senate has brought the salary of the female who is the State Senate Clerk up to the salary of the male who is the House of Delegates Clerk. She was making $19,000 less than her male counterpart in the House of Delegates, yet she had been on the job for 27 years as head clerk, while her male counterpart had been on the job for 5 1/2 years. Someone please show Ms. Lawson the way out of the privileged bubble in which she lives.

    http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/female-virginia-senate-clerk-s-salary-brought-up-to-male/article_53011f48-3db1-5872-a8f4-4c841934af49.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share

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