Sex and Politics

Women’s Libbers Take Action, Roll Call Takes Heat

Posted October 20, 2004 at 3:55pm

[IMGCAP(1)] In the same year the Equal Rights Amendment was approved by the Senate 84-8 and sent to the states for ratification, Roll Call was reporting on the activities of the newly formed Women’s Political Caucus, while taking heat for its own portrayal of women.

Members of the women’s caucus, staffers who often kept their association with the group secret to avoid being fired, undertook a detailed study of job titles, duties and salaries for male and female Congressional employees. “We’re in a unique position to influence legislation up here and to fight job discrimination,” said Barbara Weiner, one of the caucus’s organizers, at the time.

Among its findings, the group revealed a $5,000 discrepancy between men’s and women’s yearly pay in the House and resentment of common job tags such as “robo girl.”

Meanwhile, Roll Call was being lambasted by letter-writers for its Hill Pinup feature and sometimes gratuitous photos of buxom women.

The ERA is still not part of the Constitution, having been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. But Roll Call no longer publishes a Hill Pinup feature.