Today is Equal Pay Day. The date—Tuesday, April 24th—symbolizes the fact that on average, a woman must work for a year and four months to earn the same wages as a man receives in a year.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal to pay women less than men for work that is "substantially equal," unless the pay difference is because of legitimate factors such as seniority or experience.
However, 44 years later, the gap still exists. According to recent data, a woman earns an average of 77 cents for every $1 a man earns at an equivalent job. This pay gap adds up: On average, a 25-year-old working woman will lose about $455,000 to unequal pay during her working life.
Tell your senators and representatives to help close the pay gap by supporting two important bills to step up efforts to end wage discrimination:
- The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 766 and H.R. 1338), which would provide more effective remedies for victims of wage discrimination on the basis of sex.
- The Fair Pay Act (S. 1087), which would prohibit sex-based wage discrimination and would address the issue of comparable worth by calling for equal pay for equivalent work.
Over the weekend, Congress came to an agreement on the first federal minimum wage increase in 10 years. But raising the minimum wage isn't the only way to help working people struggling to get by--closing the pay gap would help the growing number of dual-earner families.
Equal pay is not only about basic fairness; it's also about basic family economics. The average U.S. family loses $4,000 a year because of the pay gap. More wives and mothers are working than ever before. (In 2003, both parents were employed in 61 percent of two-parent families with children under age 18.) The earnings of these working women are essential to supporting a family. Pay discrimination hurts husbands and families, too.
Tell your senators and representatives to support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 766, H.R. 1338) and the Fair Pay Act (S. 1087). http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/support_equal_pay
Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO