John McCain opposed a law legislating equal pay for women as their male counterparts. Ditto Sarah Palin. What is with American conservatism? Is this an instance of GOP bigotry liberals love to complain about.
Women get paid less than men for a variety of reasons, and discrimination is an important, although not only, factor. Studies have routinely showed that women who demand raises, for example, are perceived in a less favorable light than male counterparts. And no unbiased observer can deny the existence of old-boy networks.
The challenge with legislating equal pay for equal work comes down to what constitutes equal work. The whole idea comes from a manufacturing age, when equal work simply could be construed to be equal number of hours, and job functions. However, the age we live in does not lend itself to such analysis.
As an environmental consultant, I make a lot more than some of my peers. And a lot less than some others. Is it because I'm brown? A foreigner? Good looking? Ugly? Or just plain because I'm smarter/dumber or more/less hard-working than my peers? How is a law going to distinguish discrimination from true performance-based pay?