Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. today said, "The irony of calling today Equal Pay Day puts focus on the unequal pay that women continue to receive for doing the same or comparable work as men in every sector of our economy. The economic reality - because of the pay gap where women earn, on average, $.77 for every dollar a man brings home - is that the first 3.5 months of work in 2012 by women has been free labor. Again, ironically, the 3.5 month time-frame also happens to fall exactly on April 17, Tax Day, where men and women share an equal responsibility to pay taxes, but not equal pay for equal work.
"While the pay gap between men and women doing the same or similar work is incrementally shrinking, at the current pace it will take another 50 years - until 2062 - to close the income gap completely.
"President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. Yet women doctors earn only $.63 and female layers take home only $.78 cents respectively for every dollar male doctors and attorneys earn. Over a lifetime of full-time work for a woman, this economic gap in lost wages can total between $700,000 and $2 million depending on the job. This disparity has economic implications for child rearing in terms of day care for working moms, a child's education, as well as for retirement income involving pensions and Social Security.
"According to the National Partnership of Women Families, if the wage gap were eliminated, working women in California would have enough money for: 62 more weeks of food; four more months of mortgage and utility payments; seven more months of rent; 25 more months of family health insurance premiums; or 1,914 additional gallons of gas.
"Congress could 'speed up the day' of closing this economic gap by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act - I'm one of 177 Democratic (no Republican) co-sponsors of Rep. Rosa DeLauro's bill. This political season is a good time to see where the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, stands on the Lilly Ledbetter Law, the landmark 2009 law signed by President Obama that gives women greater power to seek restitution for pay discrimination, and where he and his Republican colleagues in Congress stand on paying women equally for doing the same or comparable work as men. Women can't buy a house cheaper, buy bread cheaper or take a vacation cheaper, so they need to be paid equally with men. Equal pay for equal work is an American value and should become an American law," Jackson concluded.