Karen Belz
April 17, 2014 8:00 am

Do you think that the size of your paycheck influences whether or not you’re “marriage material?” Phyllis Schlafly does. Days after Senate Republicans unanimously blocked a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, Phyllis Schlafly, who founded the “pro-family” organization Eagle Forum, claimed that providing women with equal pay for equal work would decrease their chances of finding a “suitable mate,” since shrinking the gender pay gap would somehow make women less eligible to find a husband.

Schlafly also says that women deserve less because they “place a much higher value on pleasant working conditions: a clean, comfortable, air-conditioned office with congenial co-workers,” and that it’d be empowering to women if better job prospects were available to their husbands.

If you’ve ever heard of the Stop E.R.A campaign, you’re probably familiar with Phyllis. She founded the campaign that famously went against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s – Stop E.R.A. was started after the E.R.A. was passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives back in 1972.

While I personally don’t agree with Schlafly’s comments, she’s making an argument that I think deserves further discussion by all women. I disagree with Schlafly’s perspective on big issues almost entirely (for example, she’s against gay marriage and believes that Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions, was “the worst decision in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court”), I do, however, respect the fact that Schlafy has a voice and an opinion, and think she’s quite an intelligent woman, having served as a constitutional lawyer, an activist, and also an author of over 20 books. Did I mention she’s still working at the age of 89?

Here’s what you need to think about: There’s a difference when you disagree with a celebrity, and when you disagree with a politician. Whether or not you like what the celebrity might say about sex, gay rights, feminism and general politics, it will at least give you more insight on what he or she personally believes in and stands for outside of the entertainment industry. But politicians have the ability to change history.

It’s not too far off base that even today, a woman being the “breadwinner” of the household might be hard on her marriage. I don’t think it should be. Paychecks should be considered part of a combined income, yet many people still believe that the man should be the provider, while the woman should work either at home, or at a lower-level job. In an article from The Atlantic last May (Marriage Mystery: Why Aren’t More Women Outearning their husbands?), writer Derek Thompson explains:

While it sounds grim, Thompson is optimistic about gender economics of the future. “Women are going to be the primary breadwinners in more and more families for so many reasons – [one] the shift from brawn economy to service economy, [two] women’s growing share of college degrees; and [three] sexism softening among male-dominated industries as women establish themselves in more positions of power,” he says. “A national aversion to successful wives is a really bad recipe for economic growth and family formation.”

Hopefully Schlafly’s beliefs won’t make single women who are quickly moving up the professional ladder believe that they’ll only end up married to their job in ten years. Many men and women are attracted to powerful ladies who can take care of themselves financially. Schlafly is nowhere near the poster child for feminism today, and hopefully women who see the world from a different perspective will realize that while she’s politically powerful, and quite successful in representing her platform, she doesn’t speak for everyone.

What do you think about this issue? Do you see Schlafly’s point of view, or do you think that women should aim for more?

Image Credits: Featured

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