Today, on Equal Pay Day, we must highlight the need for equal pay for women workers across America.
The issue of equal pay for women was highlighted when President John Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963. However, since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, the wage gap between men and women has been closing at a slow rate. In 1963, women made 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. In 2010, women in Wisconsin earned 78 cents to the dollar, amounting to a yearly gap of $10,033 between full-time working men and women in our state. This is not fair.
In January 2009, the Democratic-led 111th Congress sent to the President's desk the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was key for women and other workers -- restoring a basic protection against pay discrimination, by making it easier for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims. The Act restores the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other discrimination statutes, thereby protecting women and other workers.
Sill,more needs to be done to close the wage gap that still exists between women and men. Equal pay is not simply a women's issue -- it's a family issue -- as families everywhere increasingly rely on women's income to make ends meet. In order to strengthen the American family and ensure fairness, we must work together until we have achieved an America where women are truly paid equal pay for equal work. In light of recent events in our state, you can be sure that I will continue fighting for the women and families of western Wisconsin.