In observance of the 47th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today released the following statement:
"Forty-seven years ago today, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. As he put pen to paper, women were being paid 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. That was almost half a century ago.
"Today, pay parity remains far from a reality for women. This is just unacceptable.
"America's mothers, sisters and daughters now make up nearly half of the nation's workforce, and their families depend on their wages. That is especially true in the face of a difficult employment situation. Pay inequity disregards the incredible contributions made by working women. It also punishes working families and hinders our economic recovery.
"This administration has taken decisive steps to end the problem. In fact, the very first bill signed into law by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored the right for women who face wage discrimination during their careers to seek their rightful pay. The president also created the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, which brings together federal agencies -- including the Department of Labor -- to improve the enforcement of equal pay laws. And DOL's Women's Bureau is conducting research and analysis to provide technical assistance while building partnerships that will help narrow the wage gap.
"These and other efforts at the federal level are critical to making pay equity a reality, but much more needs to be done. Women should not be underpaid, and this administration will do everything within its power to ensure they are not made to wait for equality in pay a moment longer."