Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. marks Equal Pay Day, calling on Congress to close the wage gap between men and women by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.
According to a new report from the American Association of University Women, the women in New Jersey earn just 78 cents on the dollar as men for the same work, and the gap is even wider for women of color with African-American women earning just 60 cents on the dollar and Hispanic women taking home just 44 cents on the dollar for performing the same work as their male counterparts.
"Although New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is leading the state in closing the gender wage gap, I will not be happy until that gap has been eliminated completely," said Rep. Payne, Jr. "In the United States of America, if you work hard, you should earn an honest day's wage, regardless of your gender, and that's why it's important that Congress pass The Paycheck Fairness Act quickly to end pay disparities once and for all."
Achieving equal pay for women has been one of the top priorities of Democrats. In January 2009, the Democratic-led 111th Congress sent to the President's desk the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- and it became the first bill signed into law by President Obama. This Act, a great victory for women, restores the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court -- but virtually all House Republicans opposed this critical measure for women.
"Even with the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, it is clear that more must be done to address persistent gaps that threaten financial stability for families and local economies," Rep. Payne, Jr. said. "Women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners of their families, and it is critically important that women earn a fair wage for an honest day's work to pay for the food, clothing, and shelter their children and families rely on to survive. When women earn between $400,000 and $2 million less over their lifetimes as a result of pay discrimination, the financial stability of families suffer and our economy suffers."
"As a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, this pay disparity is unacceptable to me, and I am urging my colleagues to stand up for mothers, wives, and daughters everywhere and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so that women are finally paid equal pay for equal work."