“It was a year ago today that President Obama made the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first bill he signed into law, reversing a horrendous U.S. Supreme Court ruling and returning us to the time when women could reasonably expect a fair hearing in the courts if they challenged gender-based wage discrimination. But that was only a first step. The work to outlaw wage discrimination against women in this country is far from done.
Even given the Ledbetter Act, women continue to be paid 77 cents to a man’s dollar. And the gaps are even larger for women of color; African American women are paid 68 cents and Hispanic women just 58 cents.
Recognizing that, last year the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen protections against pay discrimination available under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help ensure that a comprehensive mix of strategies is used to combat and undo discriminatory pay practices. The Paycheck Fairness Act would make it harder for employers to justify wage discrimination; prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages; authorize the government to collect wage data so civil rights enforcement agencies can target their resources; and offer employers technical assistance to help them analyze their pay data and make sure they are not discriminating.
Especially given the severe economic hardship so many working families are experiencing, addressing the persistent and unfair wage gap should be a priority for lawmakers. Action on this legislation is especially urgent now, with more and more families relying on women’s wages. Yet the Senate still has not passed this common-sense bill. We urge the Senate to move quickly to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. In this perilous economic climate, working women and the families that rely on them cannot afford to wait