Real World and Film World Collide

by Melissa Silverstein
March 29, 2011 1:34 AM
3 Comments
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Today is the release of the DVD of Made in Dagenham. Why people didn't go to see this film when it was released last fall I will never understand. It was good, fun and about something important - the fight for equal pay.

When the film was released the Paycheck Fairness Act was before Congress. Today, as the DVD gets released the Supreme Court will hear the class action lawsuit, Wal-Mart v. Dukes which is the case of six women who sued Wal-Mart for equal pay. Bottom line - they just want to be paid the same as men for the same work and to get opportunities for promotion.

Here are some of the things the women are fighting against:

The problem, of course, is that the Dukes plaintiffs contend that Wal-Mart's "culture" discriminates against women. Holding management meetings at Hooters and strip clubs, referring to female employees as "Janie Q's" and regarding women in retail as "housewives who just need to earn extra money" rather than as potential managers are precisely the cultural practices that Dukes and her fellow class representatives challenge.

This is a very important worker's rights lawsuit and you can see how far we have come and how far we still have to go by watching the DVD of Made in Dagenham which is based on a true story. The DVD has commentary with director Nigel Cole, deleted scenes, outtakes and a making of featurette.

The Showdown Between Women and Wal-Mart (The Root)

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More: Sexism

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3 Comments

  • Deb | March 29, 2011 6:34 AMReply

    Dear Male Matters, since this is a film website addressing discrimination against women in film. Perhaps you have some suggestions for women who are accomplished/trained directors and who are still being told in 2011 that "they simply won't hire a woman" when they go after a directing job.

    Doesn't matter if we are married, single, have children, young or old, we are ALL having the same experience.

  • MaleMatters | March 29, 2011 5:59 AMReply

    Re: the Paycheck Fairness Act:

    No legislation yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not affirmative action, not diversity, not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission..... Nor would the Paycheck Fairness Act have worked.

    That's because pay-equity advocates, at no small financial cost to taxpayers and the economy, continue to overlook the effects of this female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women's equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women," stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. "In the past few years,” he says in a CNN August 2008 report at http://tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier....” at http://tinyurl.com/qqkaka. This may or may not reflect a higher percentage of women staying at home than in the previous decade. But if the percentage is higher, perhaps it's because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs, and so why bother working if they're going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Because they're supported by their husband.

    Both feminists and the media miss — or ignore — what this obviously implies: If millions of wives can accept no wages and live as well as their husbands, millions of other wives can accept low wages, refuse overtime and promotions, take more unpaid days off, avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (http://tinyurl.com/45ecy7p) — all of which lower women's average pay. They can do this because they are supported by a husband who must earn more than if he'd chosen never to marry. (Still, even many men who shun marriage, unlike women, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap. If the roles were reversed so that men raised the children and women raised the income, men would average lower pay than women.

    See “A Response to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” at http://tinyurl.com/pvbrcu

    By the way, the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day is in 2020. The year 2020 is how far into the future women will have to work to experience the same number of work-related deaths that men experienced in 2009 alone.

    Re: the Wamart class action:

    What goes unremarked upon, on both sides of the case, is that about 72 percent of Walmart's employees all along have been women.

    Suppose 72 percent of the company's employees were men and most of its managers were women. Since women's advocates now ignore Walmart's current, real hiring discrimination against men, doesn't this mean they would ignore women's dominance in Walmart's management staff and would focus exclusively on claiming that a 72-percent male staff proves hiring discrimination against women? Wouldn't this hiring discrimination in fact form the basis for the class action against Walmart?

    For a primary reason Walmart has more male managers than female, see "Taking Apart the Sex-Bias Class-Action Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart" at http://tinyurl.com/lnn3xn

  • Deb | March 29, 2011 2:14 AMReply

    The question is, if the Supreme Court supports this class action lawsuit, can it be used against the film industry?

    " A culture of discrimination" pretty accurately describes our business.

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