Are women in Texas too busy to worry about equal pay?

One of the ideas that emerged out of what has been a year of soul searching for the GOP as it addresses the gender gap that has haunted  them at the polls is to promote women. The effort includes having women be the face of conservative policies and creating outside organizations that specifically speak to women and the issues that are important to them. Equal pay is one such issue, and it is cropping up in races across the country, especially those in which women are running against men.

Which brings us to a group called Red State Women PAC, a Texas based group that is a wingwoman of sorts Greg Abbott, the current state Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor.

Cari Christman, executive director of the group, was recently asked about equal pay legislation, an issue that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been trying to use as a rally women in the campaign.

In Texas, according to a new report, men make $44,802 and women make $35,453 or 79 cents on the dollar.

Christman says that women are too busy to focus on equal pay and that Davis should instead focus on creating jobs and access to education.

Watch here:

A bit of backstory on why this is animating this race in particular:  Greg Abbott’s office successfully argued a 2011 case brought by a woman who was a professor at Prairie View A&M university, alleging pay discrimination.  The Texas Supreme Court tossed the case on statute of limitations grounds, effectively saying that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a federal law that broadens the statute of limitations, did not apply in Texas.  Abbott has consistently said that state laws prohibit pay discrimination, and additional remedies aren’t needed.   Other conservatives have also often argued that such laws only increase lawsuits.

And Beth Cubriel, the executive director of the Texas Republican Party, had this advice for women, when it comes to closing the pay gap. In Texas, according to a new report, men make $44,802 and women make $35,453 or 79 cents on the dollar.

“Men are better negotiators,” said Cubriel said on YNN’s “Capital Tonight,” when asked about equal pay legislation. “I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

Republicans have yet to figure out how to effectively push back on the Democrats “war on women” rhetoric. Having conservative women in the conversation is a great start. It remains to be seen whether they will be better at selling the Republican message and helping to close the gender gap.

Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.
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Nia-Malika Henderson and Pamela Kirkland · March 18, 2014