Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has a warning for corporations that continue to pay women less than men: Give women the bag they deserve or I’ll snatch coins out of yours.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve seen all of the data highlighting how much less women are paid than men. When you break it down by race, minority women are shorted more than white women overall. For years, activists, politicians and academics have mulled over the best ways to address the issue. Enter Sen. Harris, who is proposing what her campaign says is the most aggressive plan to close the wage gap to date.
Under Harris’ plan, which was viewed by The Root, corporations would have to obtain an “Equal Pay Certification” that would ensure that they aren’t paying women less than men for equal work. Earning certification would require corporations to prove they are taking steps to eliminate pay disparities. If there are pay gaps, companies would have to prove that they are based on performance, position or merit, not gender.
Additionally, corporations would have to disclose their pay policies and allow employees to freely discuss salaries to receive certification. A key feature of the certification is that it bans corporations from asking about pay history during the hiring process.
What if these corporations flip Harris the bird and say to hell with your gender equality mess? Well, for every 1 percent wage gap that persists between men and women for equal work, they will be hit with a 1 percent fine to their profits. And those fines will help finance paid family and medical leave.
Now, of course, we all know the Republican men and, perhaps, even some Blue Dog Democrats will lose their shit if Harris becomes president and asks Congress to approve this in the form of a bill. If Congress refuses to support Harris’ plan, she will sign an executive order applying these standards to large federal contractors. Those contractors will have the first two years of her first term to earn the “Equal Pay Certification” in order to receive large federal contracts or be barred from competing for contracts totaling more than $500,000.
This economic plan lines up with her pledge to raise teacher salaries and fund HBCUs, as The Root previously reported. In the Senate, Harris introduced a bill that would raise public defenders’ salaries on par with prosecutors and limit their notoriously heavy workloads.
Currently, Harris is riding steady in the polls at 12 percent, behind Joe Biden (28 percent) and Bernie Sanders (20 percent). She made headlines recently when addressing reports that the Congressional Black Caucus are debating the power of a Biden-Harris ticket, with her being his VP.
“I think that Joe Biden would be a great running mate,” Harris told reporters in New Hampshire last week. “As vice president, he’s proven that he knows how to do the job.”