Title

The Impact of Female Legislators on pay Equity Policy: The Minnesota Comparable Worth Act of 1982 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2011

Advisor

Claire Haeg, Political Science

Abstract

Gender politics literature emphasizes that electing more women in the legislature will have an increased impact on the likelihood that women's issues will be supported in the legislature at higher rates. Pay equity has been framed as a women's issue as women continue to face gendered wage discrimination and the gender wage gap has not been eliminated yet. Because all women encounter pay discrimination in various forms, this thesis utilizes a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the Minnesota Comparable Worth Act of 1982 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to examine the cohesion of co-sponsorship and the cohesion of voting patterns among female legislators in Minnesota legislature and in U.S. congress. Using these two pieces of legislation as case studies, I examine the role of women legislators passing pay equity legislation. Examining these two policies shows that party ideology may have the most significant role in how women (and men) co-sponsor and vote on policies related to pay equity. These findings suggest that simply increasing the number of female legislators may not have an impact on pay equity legislation, because they do not exemplify cohesion in the legislature on behalf of women's issues.

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