Two days ago, the Feminist Majority Foundation joined several other women’s nonprofits in Washington, D.C. to protest the anti-woman, pro-corporation Supreme Court decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart. Women and men gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court for the Rally in Solidarity with the Women of Wal-Mart, a rally organized by the National Women’s Law Center. Activists held signs and chanted their disapproval of the discrimination that the women employees of Wal-Mart face and the Supreme Court’s refusal to acknowledge those inequities.
In a class action lawsuit that represented one and a half million women employees, prosecutors argued that female employees face immense discrimination, as they receive fewer training and advancement opportunities, are paid less than their male counterparts, are coerced to work in lower wage departments, and face sexual harassment.
On Monday, June 20, in a reversal of the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court ruled that the class action suit was too broad – too many women were represented with too many forms of discrimination that one case could not possibly represent all of them.
This decision was a huge blow for the women of Wal-Mart and women all across the country facing job discrimination. For many of these employees, this case was their only chance of redemption against their discriminatory employer. These women, then, must face lawsuits individually, or continue to face wage discrimination and sexual harassment.
Passers-by snapped photos and raised their fists in solidarity at the group of protestors holding signs that read “Equal Pay 4 Equal Work,” “Wal-Mart: Rolling Back Salaries,” and many others. They chanted and cheered for an hour on the steps of the Supreme Court, yelling “Hey hey, ho ho, Unfair pay has got to go!” and “We have the power, we have the fight. Equal pay, protect our rights!”
While voicing our disappointment and anger towards the decision that favored a corporation over women’s well-being will not reverse that decision, the women of Wal-Mart at least now know that they have supporters. The Supreme Court justices, too, have hopefully realized that their anti-woman decisions will not be accepted blindly; we and our fellow feminists will continue to hold them accountable and demand the respect and rights that we deserve.