Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

GOP lawmaker's remark saying working women 'look like whiners' goes viral

Author:

A Republican lawmaker’s remarks went viral this week after she suggested that legislation dealing with women in the workplace makes women “look like whiners," the Woodbury Bulletin reports.

During a Minnesota House committee hearing on March 12, Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury, commented on the Women’s Economic Security Act, which includes several measures aimed at improving economic opportunities for women.

“We heard several bills last week about women’s issues and I kept thinking to myself, ‘These bills are putting us backwards in time,’" Kieffer said at the hearing. "We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women and almost making us look like whiners.”

Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a progressive group, posted audio of Kieffer's comments on its website, and the story quickly spread to other sites including the  Huffington Post, MSNBC, Salon and Time.

The Women's Economic Security Act aims to improve the economic standing of women in Minnesota, according to its authors. It calls for increasing the state's minimum wage to $9.50 per hour; closing the gender pay gap; expanding access to affordable child care; expanding family and sick leave; and supporting women in non-traditional jobs or who own small businesses.

A yearly survey released by the American Association of University Women says the "gender gap" between what men and women earn in similar jobs still exists. Nationally, women earn 77 cents for every $1 a man earns, according to the survey. In Minnesota, it's 80 cents.

House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, responded to Kieffer's comments in an email to HuffPost, saying it's "not whining" to want the wage gap to be closed. "That is a reality that we should not accept."

"Too often women are branded as 'whiners' when they challenge unfairness in our laws and society. The reality is that women in Minnesota and throughout our country face unique economic barriers and everyone deserves a fair chance at success," Murphy added.

Kieffer did not respond to requests seeking comment.

The measure would help reduce the pay disparity between men and women by requiring businesses that contract with the state to study whether men and women are being paid the same for doing similar work, MPR News reports.

Some business owners are concerned about the potential cost to them if the package is approved. 

MPR spoke to Maria Veach, the owner of three Culver's Restaurant franchises in Minnesota. She said if she is required to pay one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works, it could harm her bottom line.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the provision that would require an equal pay study, according to MPR, saying it could put Minnesota at a disadvantage when competing for business with other states.

"The more you impose these fixed costs on employing people in Minnesota, the harder it is for those businesses to be able to survive in Minnesota," said Beth Kadoun, director of tax and fiscal policy for the chamber.

The House Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee is holding a hearing on the bill Thursday afternoon. Rep. Kieffer is a member of that committee.

Kieffer is serving her second term in the House, and announced late last year she is not seeking re-election. She is one of five Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of the same-sex marriage law last year.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Related