Imagine lost earnings equaling $431,000 over a worker’s lifetime. In the United States, the pay gap between women and men translates to that amount, or $10,622 less per year in earnings for women. As we approach the 47th anniversary of passage of the Equal Pay Act on Thursday, June 10, a new national survey question finds that 84 percent of registered voters support legislation that would “provide women more tools to get fair pay in the workplace.” Strong majorities of both men and women support such legislation.
Currently awaiting action in the Senate, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182) would do just that, making it harder for employers to hide pay discrimination, help train women and girls about salary negotiation, support government collection of critical wage data, and reward employers that have good pay practices. The House of Representatives passed it last year, and it has 40 co-sponsors in the Senate.
“The world has changed dramatically since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, but the pay gap has persisted, in part because our anti-discrimination laws have not kept up,” said National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness. “Today women are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, and minority women even less. With more women serving as breadwinners for their families, we need lawmakers to step up and do much more to stop wage discrimination. We need Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
Voters in all parts of the country and of all racial and ethnic groups expressed support for improving equal pay law in this survey question. Nearly seven in ten men (69 percent) and three in four women (74 percent) said they strongly support the bill.
Today in the United States, nearly four in ten mothers (39.3 percent) are primary breadwinners for their families, bringing home the majority of family earnings and nearly two-thirds (62.8 percent) are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, bringing home at least a quarter of family earnings.
In April, the National Partnership for Women & Families, in conjunction with AAUW, released a report tallying the cost of the wage gap to each state’s women and families, and the human cost of wage discrimination. To view state by state information on wage discrimination, go to www.nationalpartnership.org/epd.