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Public Statements

Paycheck Fairness Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT

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Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1338, the Paycheck Fairness Act. This legislation is needed to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963. I thank Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for sponsoring this bill and fighting for its passage year after year and Chairman George Miller for championing this bill through the committee and on the House floor.

The Paycheck Fairness Act has garnered tremendous support from 230 cosponsors and over 200 national, state, and Iocal organizations. While the Equal Pay Act was intended to prevent pay discrimination in the workplace, 45 years after it was signed by President Kennedy, women, and especially women of color, continue to take home significantly less pay than men for the same work. Single women and female heads of households fare the worst in the current system. These women earn less than their male colleagues during their careers, which in turn adversely affects their ability to save and accrue retirement benefits.

As a representative of the second Congressional district of Hawaii, I have the great honor and responsibility of continuing the important work of my predecessor, Patsy Takemoto Mink. Congresswoman Mink's personal struggles as a woman in a culture dominated by men inspired her to work tirelessly for equal rights for women and girls. She faced obstacles in pursuing her education and career, but she was not deterred--instead, she broke down barriers, becoming the first Japanese-American woman admitted to the bar in Hawaii and the first woman of color elected to national office in this country when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964. Today, women continue to break down barriers in the workplace, but they still receive only a fraction of the pay men receive for the same work.

Although the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed to prevent pay discrimination based on sex, the law clearly has not had the intended result, even after 45 years. Women still make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men for equal work. This bill will strengthen enforcement of the law, thereby fulfilling its intended purpose.

I strongly urge my colleagues to stand up for the right of women to receive equal pay and support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

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