State Sen. Cynthia Dill, the leading progressive in the race for the U.S. Senate, said today that as Maine's U.S. senator, she would support the Paycheck Fairness Act expected to be debated in Congress this week.
The bill, which protects women who bring claims to court for being paid less than their male counterparts in equivalent positions, would bring up to date the Equal Pay Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson nearly 50 years ago.
"This is something our campaign has talked about from the beginning, and I'm glad to see action being taken in Congress to address the historic gender inequity in employment," Dill said. "As the workforce shifts from a male-dominated one to one in which women are the main breadwinners in many cases, protecting their right to earn a fair wage helps families prosper."
Nearly half of all workers in the United States are women. But women tend to hold lower-paying jobs overall, and even when they have the exact same title as men, they make significantly less. Overall, women make 77 cents to a man's dollar, and in some professions, specifically high-paying careers, that disparity is much higher.
The average female full-time worker makes $10,784 less annually than a man does at the same job. "Over a lifetime, this is a huge gap that leads women to poverty as senior citizens," Dill said, noting that the gap improves to 87 cents for women in unions.
Dill leads the field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, according to two independent polls. A Critical Insights poll showed Dill leads the field in name recognition, while a Maine People's Resource Center poll showed Dill the favorite of 20.3 percent of those polled, with the next challenger at 16.7 percent.