Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, today is Equal Pay Day--the day that symbolizes when, more than three months into the year, the average woman's yearly income finally catches up to what a man was paid in a previous year. Getting paid fairly for the work you do is tough for almost everyone, but, for women, it's particularly difficult.
Women earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, costing women and their families up to $2 million over a woman's working lifetime. With a record number of women in the workforce, wage discrimination is hurting the majority of American families, both in terms of their economic security today and their retirement security tomorrow. Families have fewer resources to pay the mortgage, send kids to college, or have a decent retirement.
If the United States had an adopted policy of equal pay, it would put $200 billion more into the economy every year. This comes out to about $137 for every white woman per pay check, and approximately $300 for every woman of color, who are doubly discriminated against.
Today, there are an unprecedented number of women who are the breadwinners of their families. This makes pay equity even more critical, not simply to family economic security, but also to our nation's economy.
As we look for ways to create more jobs and grow the economy, it's astounding to me that Congress has not yet passed legislation ensuring equal pay for equal work. It's a powerful policy which would produce enormously positive economic outcomes.
The Paycheck Fairness Act ensures that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must demonstrate that the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related and necessary. It prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose their own salary information with their co-workers, and it strengthens the remedies available to wronged employees.
Pay inequity due to gender discrimination is real, it should not be tolerated, and we need to take action against it.