AS WE MARK EQUAL PAY DAY, CONGRESSWOMAN CHELLIE PINGREE CALLS FOR CLOSING THE WAGE GAP BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN
Pingree Highlights Enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
As the country marks Equal Pay Day on April 28, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree calls upon all Americans to work together to achieve equal pay for equal work. Pingree led the debate on the floor of the US House of Representatives during final passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act earlier this year.
"Forty-six years have passed since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963," Pingree said. "And yet, in many cases, there is still not equal pay for equal work in this country."
In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed, women who worked full-time, year-round made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. In 2007, women earned 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. That is progress - but it is slow progress. It means that the wage gap has narrowed by less than half a cent per year. Every April, advocates for equal pay mark the time of year in which the wages paid to American women "catch up" to the wages paid to men from the previous year. In other words, because the average woman earns less, she must work longer for the same amount of pay.
"Equal pay is not just a women's issue, it's a family issue," said Pingree. "The wage gap hurts everyone - husbands, wives, children, and parents - because it lowers family incomes that pay for essentials: groceries, doctors' visits, child care. When women earn more, an entire family benefits. That is why closing the wage gap must be an integral part of strengthening America's families."
"On this Equal Pay Day 2009, let us all vow that, in order to strengthen the American family and ensure fairness in the workplace, we will work together until we have achieved an America where women are truly paid equal pay for equal work," Pingree said.