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A Wyoming lawmaker is in some very predictable trouble after opining that maybe women find themselves making less money because they’re so bad at showing up for work. State Rep. Gerald Gay of Casper, a Republican, said that women workers often suffer from a “dependability issue.” Oh?
Gay, who no doubt sort of resents his own name, represents District 36, and, to set the tone here, let’s just show you an ad he made while running for reelection in 2014. Besides holding up big fish and shooting skeet, he spent a lot of time assuring everyone he does not support “homosexual marriage.” Great to know.
Gay first made the comments re: the ladies in an interview with Better Wyoming. Let’s just show the full context and parse, together, the place where Gerald done fucked up:
Do you believe there is a gender wage gap? If not, how do you account for figures that show women make about 70 cents per dollar a man makes in Wyoming? Is there anything the Legislature can do to narrow the gender wage gap?
That’s a fact of life, you know, and it’s the nature of Wyoming’s business and also the nature of gender politics. Men and women have different ways of going about taking time off — moms for maternity leave and that sort of thing. Women are always going to take their full maternity leave, and there’s the dependability issue about whether they’re going to show up for things.
Historically [women] tend to take every sick day that’s available with them, and that’s a gender thing. They look at how many sick days you get in a year. Say you get 12 sick days a year. If they go for two years and they’ve only taken three sick days, they’re going to cash in the remaining 21 sick days. That’s a gender thing and it hurts getting [the gender wage gap] rectified. Some of the misuses and abuses that go on there, and it’s predictable, it’s statistics that are written in stone. As long as you have people who behave differently on it between the two genders, it hurts the chances of getting that gender wage gap shrunk all the way down. We’ll make small progress on it, but they won’t make it [go away].
There is... so much going on here, but Gay’s insistence that women be taking sick days at an unacceptable rate seems as fine a place to start as any. The Casper Star-Tribune called him up and gave him a chance to clarify, at which point Gay took a look at that grave he was standing in, and decided it was not deep enough. He told the Trib that in fact, women also take sick days fraudulently, like liars.
“Women in the workforce traditionally take a disproportionate amount of their sick days off for other reasons than sick days,” he told the paper. “They take Junior to the hospital or go see Johnny’s soccer game.”
All of this is based on his own “surveys with employers,” Gay told the paper. He didn’t want to say which employers, exactly, but agreed that they all say women take too much time off and that’s why they can’t seem to make as much money as men.
At that point, delightfully, the Star-Tribune and Gay agreed that he himself hadn’t done a great job showing up for work this past legislative session. (Exact figures on how many days he missed weren’t immediately available.) But that, he told the paper, was different, because he’s an elected official:
“It’s a different thing,” he explained. “You’re elected versus when you’re hired. I don’t have the best attendance record. I was in the hospital for part of the (time) when I was in the Legislature. I was in a long-term rehabilitation wing of a nursing home during the session.”
Gay had a spinal cord injury and struggled to find transportation between work and the nursing home where he was recuperating, he explained. This all checks out, and we’ll note that, in fairness, finding transportation or childcare is something women have never had to struggle with.