Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963. Fifty years later, women on average still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, meaning women must work longer for the same amount of pay.
In commemoration of this milestone and in recognition of the work that remains, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas released the following statement:
"Fifty years ago today, Congress and President John F. Kennedy acted to break down one of the last remaining gender inequalities: equal pay for equal work. But today, women still find themselves earning considerably less than their male counterparts. For every 77 cents earned by a woman, a man earns one dollar. That's an annual difference of $11,084. $11,084 would mean 89 more weeks of food or more than 3,000 additional gallons of gas or more than one year of rent.
"Women have made great strides breaking through long-standing inequalities, but the ongoing struggle for equal rights and equal pay demands we do more. As a member of Congress representing Massachusetts's Third District, where many working families are still struggling to make ends meet, it is my duty to act and close this immoral pay gap.
"I am a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and help establish equal rights in the work place, thus eliminating the need for women to go to court in order to receive equal pay. The bill would close loopholes that for years have allowed employers to engage in gender based pay discrimination without the fear of prosecution, and takes significant steps towards ensuring that woman are paid equally and fairly for the work that they do. Congress should pass this piece of legislation so that this next generation of young women does not have to live in a world where their work is valued less than their male coworkers.
"I will continue to stand with the women and men who are making the case for equal pay on this day and each day forward."