Ms. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of Equal Pay Day. It's the day in 2013 when women finally earn what their male peers did in 2012. Put another way, women work 15 1/2 months to make what a man makes in 12.
Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. Yet half a century later, women still earn only 77 cents to the dollar compared to their male peers. These gaps are even wider for women of color. African American women earn just 64 cents and Latinas earn 55 cents for every dollar.
Sadly, not a single State or major metropolitan area has eliminated the wage gap. In Maryland, the National Partnership for Women and Families found that women who are employed full time lose $7.8 billion each year due to this wage gap.
We passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act 4 years ago to restore the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court, but here the gap persists. We must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the Equal Pay Act and help gender-based discrimination end once and for all.
We all benefit when women earn equal pay. Closing the wage gap must be an integral part of strengthening America's working families and our economy.