Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Clinton strengthens equal allowance protections

Executive orders address gender inequity in children’s allowances

Dispatch from the Future
April 17, 2019

WASHINGTON (Gloomberg News) - President Hillary Clinton signed executive orders Tuesday aimed at strengthening equal allowance protections for children.

The orders will make it easier for some kids to find out how much other children are getting paid and, as a result, to learn whether or not they are being compensated fairly.

“Today I'm going to take executive action to make it easier for girls in the home to receive a fair allowance," said Clinton just before signing the actions.  “Allowance secrecy fosters allowance discrimination, and we shouldn’t tolerate it.”

The measure will apply only to families whose parents are federal employees, but Clinton has urged Congress to extend similar protections to all American children.

One action prohibits federally employed parents from spanking, scolding, or in any way retaliating against children who discuss their allowance.

"It is important that girls, and all children, feel they can seek information about allowances from other children without the threat of being spanked or grounded," White House Senior Advisor Craig T. Smith said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters.

The second action, a presidential memorandum, instructs the secretary of labor to collect data on allowances from federal employees, including a breakdown by age and sex.

"This information will allow for convenient enforcement and even voluntary compliance," Smith said.  "Parents often don't realize there's an allowance gap until they're confronted with it."

The executive orders follow a setback for the Equal Allowance Act, which passed the Senate but is now stalled in the House of Representatives.  The measure would allow any girl who believes she’s getting an unfair allowance to take her parents to court. 

The Republican position is that neither the new executive orders nor the proposed law reflect the reality that not every household task is the same.  A GOP memo handed out to reporters Tuesday read, “Allowance disparity exists because of the nature of the jobs.  Dishwashing, sweeping, and counter-wiping chores are very different from mowing the lawn, hedge trimming, and garbage toting.  Anyone doing the former is going to get less allowance than someone doing the latter—regardless of gender.”  The memo stated that the Equal Pay Act would benefit only lawyers, while placing unreasonable restrictions on parents.  “This law will not create equal allowance.  But it will make it nearly impossible for parents to tie allowances to work quality, productivity and experience.”

“The Republicans just don’t get it,” declared equal allowance activist Rachel Jones, age 11.  “Pay inequity follows women all their lives.  And we now know the disparity begins in the home, in childhood.”  Jones strongly disagreed with GOP claims that the law would result in allowance cuts, thereby hurting the very children it’s intended to benefit.  “Many fathers are on board for equal allowance for equal work, because of their mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters,” she said. “This is a family issue.  Equal allowance would boost the economy also.”

The president vowed to continue to fight for the Equal Allowance Act, and had sharp words for Republicans, whom she accused of “gumming up the works” on the issue of allowance equity.

The matter has been a subject of sometimes vehement public debate since 2014, when ThinkProgress.org posted a research summary by author Bryce Covert.  The summary stated that 67 percent of boys report getting an allowance, compared to only 59 percent of girls.  And when girls do get an allowance, the pay generally is lower that what boys get, even though, according to Covert, studies have found that the higher-paid boys spend less time doing household chores than the girls.


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©2014 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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