Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) released the following statement on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act into law:
Fifty years ago today, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. He stated that "when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes.' In 1963, women on average made 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Today, women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. While we have achieved some successes over the past 50 years, we must do better.
Women in Illinois earn nearly $12,000 less a year than their male counterparts and I know that my neighbors believe that our daughters deserve better. The fact that women only make 77 cents on the dollar nationally not only hurts women, but also working families trying to make ends meet. During my service in the Army, I earned equal pay for equal work and this policy has helped to make our military the best in the world.
The 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act is an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to equality in the workplace. I am a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would prevent women who stand up for their right to equal pay from being retaliated against. Congress needs to act swiftly to pass this legislation and give every American the opportunity to earn equal pay for equal work.