Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dukes v. Wal-Mart: So Maybe Size Does Matter?

Supreme Court is hearing Dukes v. Wal-Mart this week. Scalia and Ailito have already asked "well, is it corporate policy or store management [to discriminate against women]?" The answer, boys, is probably both. The size of the class action suit is why the Supremes took the case. Is this a good case? I don't know. Has Wal-Mart discriminated against lots of women in pay and promotions? The fact that, since the suit was filed in 2001, Wal-Mart has increased the number of women in lower management positions, and restored Dukes' pay rate may not reveal anything, but Wal-Mart did both. The fact that Wal-Mart has chosen this sidebar issue to take to the Court after 10 years of unsuccessfully ditching the case is significant. Women in the United States still make less than men in same positions, women are underrepresented in senior management. This graphic shows women in positions of power in Afghanistan and the U.S. I can't find good numbers for the blank percentages for U.S., and I'm not sure that's insignificant. Our United States has still not ratified the United Nations Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. It was ratified by the UN in 1979. What other countries join us in abstaining? Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Narau, Palau and Tonga. The 186 countries that ratified CEDAW pledge to take action to end discrimination against women and girls. The Obama administration strongly supports ratification. The bill has languished in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1979. The U.S. is still mulling over an implementation plan to support U.N. Resolution 1325 ten years after, and 60 years after the Declaration of Human Rights. That America cannot get its arms around gender issues, except to diss other countries about their issues, that the 112th Congress and too many state legislatures are busy undermining and reversing human rights issues by attacking women's health and safety, that we cannot get a simple resolution out of committee while violence against women has increased around the world, that the Supreme Court might decide that a 1964 Civil Rights Act violation affecting hundreds of thousands of women is just too damn many women, is an appalling indictment of our culture's ideology, our government's priorities. We can do better than this.

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