Yes, it’s tough to speak in public and under pressure. But given that she was competing for a position that requires public speaking, she should be able to string together a few sentences that make sense. There’s a pay gap for women. You’re a woman. What do you think about that inequality as a young woman at the beginning of your career?
Nonetheless Powell has gotten some sympathy for her flub.
“The income inequality question is difficult enough on its own,” writes Post opinion columnist Alexandra Petri. “When it was posed to Mitt Romney back during the debates, he wound up coming up with Binders Full of Women. And ever since it hit the public consciousness, that 40 percent figure has been inspiring people to insert their feet into their mouths and wiggle them around.” If haven’t seen Powell’s cringe-worthy moment, Petri’s blog post has the video.
Kerry Hannon, a contributor to Forbes, says that Powell should have said this about the pay gap: “What the gender wage gap says about our society is that the playing field is not equal in the workplace. Yes, there has been positive change in recent years. But for most women, the pay gap has barely budged: from 59 cents to the man’s dollar in 1975 to today’s 77 cents, on average, for a typical woman working full time, according to a study from the Center for American Progress.”
Hannon runs down a number of reasons for the pay gap and then provides tips to help resolve it.
Ban the Box
As I wrote earlier this week, I’m particularly interested in the outcome of lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against BMW and Dollar General, who are accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by using information from criminal justice histories to screen employees, which had a disparate impact on black and Hispanic workers and job applicants.
The Society for Human Resource Management found in a survey last year that more than two-thirds of companies conduct criminal background checks on job applicants. About a quarter of those firms said that nonviolent misdemeanors, such as drug convictions, could influence their hiring decisions, and 60 percent reported that violent crimes could disqualify a candidate, reports The Washington Post’s Ylan Q. Mui.