Presidential Announcement On Pay Gap, Scholar Activism, Getting The Most Out Of Brunch

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Last year’s debate over tenure and university funding brought out a number of passionate opinions, and one UW professor stood out for her stance on issues in higher education. She joins us to tell her story and discuss why she’s comfortable being a scholar and an activist. We also talk to a couple restauranteurs about getting the most out of our brunches, and get the latest on President Obama’s announcement aimed at reducing the pay gap among men, women and minorities.

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  • Obama Makes Another Attempt To Close Gender Pay Gap

    President Barack Obama announced on Friday that companies with more than 100 employees will soon need to report what they pay their employees by race, gender and ethnicity. The announcement builds on the president’s efforts to narrow the pay gap between men and women.

    Edward-Isaac Dovere, senior White House reporter for Politico, said Obama used the date — the seventh anniversary of the the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — to remind Americans of the first law that he signed as a new president to combat pay discrimination for women.

    “He also used the day to make a push for Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that would extend the protections that are in place to make sure that people are getting paid the same no matter their gender, race, ethnicity, etc.,” he said.

    According to Dovere, the president will likely be criticized again for his reliance on executive action — as he did when he signed a similar executive order in 2014 regarding federal employees.

    “Few of these things have happened without a lot of pushback. The pushback, not being that people are saying women should make less money than men, but that people think this is not the right way to approach it, and it’s too much government intervention into private companies,” said Dovere.

    Dovere said if women suspect that they are getting paid less than men, having the data accessible could verify or contradict that suspicion.

    “There are a lot of women who wonder whether they are getting paid less than their male counterparts. They know that the general statistics are out there that say women make $0.79 to the $1 that men make on average. Theoretically, with this data push, they’ll be able to see whether that applies to their workplace,” he said.

    The timing also suggests that the issue of equal pay for women will be a political issue in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

  • UW-Madison Professor Says She Isn't Afraid To Be Activist And Scholar

    If you’re on Twitter and follow Wisconsin news, you’ve probably heard of Sara Goldrick-Rab, a University of Wisconsin-Madison education policy professor.

    She has a reputation as a prolific tweeter and a lightning rod for both devotion and criticism. Her public battle with policy leaders over tenure changes to the UW System was covered in the New York Times and she has come under fire, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it, “for finding future Badgers on Twitter and essentially encouraging them to take their money elsewhere — as well as for comparing Gov. Scott Walker to Adolf Hitler.”

    On the other hand, Goldrick-Rab’s reputation for taking an active stance to make real world changes based on solid research has drawn praise and earned her a national reputation among students and faculty.

    As a self-described scholar and activist, the Angela Davis quote on Goldrick-Rab’s Twitter page should come as no surprise: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change; I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

    Goldrick-Rab said the quote sort of sums up the last year and her fight against tenure changes and making higher education more affordable and inclusive.

    “What the last year has been about is doing something about the world that we’re all confronting today, which is accompanied and characterized by a lot of changes to our lives here in WIsconsin that many of us have felt powerless over,” she said.

    After Wisconsin lawmakers removed tenure protection provisions in the 2015-2017 state budget, Goldrick-Rab said she couldn’t stand idle and watch the changes that impacted so many educators and their families.

    “Over the last year, I have been speaking out about our right to an affordable higher education in this state, something I know people care about, and our right as educators to interact with our students on a fair and open and honest basis, which is something that requires tenure,” she said.

    As the founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s first translational research laboratory on college affordability, Goldrick-Rab said she takes her work seriously, especially because it receives taxpayer funding. She said she hopes to leverage her findings to improve people’s lives.

    As for future battles over education policy, Goldrick-Rab said she’ll continue to be a vigilant activist and promote her views — whether in articles, academic journals or 140 characters at a time.

  • President Announces New Push To Reduce Pay Gap Among Men, Women And Minorities

    On the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, President Obama has announced a new measure aimed at reducing the pay gap among men women, and minorities. A reporter gives us the latest on the announcement, and explains what it means for businesses.

  • Life As A Scholar-Activist

    After last year’s battle over changes in tenure protections for UW faculty, we speak with a UW professor about her role in the public debate over that controversy and why she’s comfortable in the roles of scholar and activist in her work for access to higher education.

  • Food Friday: Brunch

    Brunch is a weekend mainstay and really an American phenomenon. For Food Friday, we talk to two Wisconsin chefs about what makes for a great brunch plate.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Matt Oleson Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Edward-Isaac Dovere Guest
  • Sara Goldrick-Rab Guest
  • Phillip Hurley Guest
  • John Gadau Guest

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