On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the historic Equal Pay Act, which established the principle of equal pay for equal work for women in the workforce. When he signed the Equal Pay Act, President Kennedy stated: "It is a first step. It affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes."
And yet, 50 years later, women still do not find "equality in their pay envelopes." In 1963, when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women who worked full-time, year-round made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. Today, women who work full-time, year-round make 77 cents on average for every dollar earned by men -- progress, but not nearly enough progress.
Over the past 50 years, the Equal Pay Act has never been updated or strengthened. The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens and closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, including:
Prohibiting employers from retaliating when workers discuss their salaries;
Making gender-based wage discrimination subject to the same remedies as wage discrimination based on race or national origin;
Recognizing employers for excellence for pay practices and providing assistance to employers that need help implementing equal pay practices; and
Enhancing the federal government's ability to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws.
Equal pay is not simply a women's issue. Families increasingly rely on women's wages to make ends meet. When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families -- groceries, rent, child care, doctors' visits.
Honoring Leaders in our Community
Last week, I was honored to join leaders of San Francisco's robust Asian-American Pacific Islander community at the API Wellness center in the Tenderloin for a roundtable discussion of issues facing San Francisco's AAPI community. It was wonderful to see over twenty organizations and witness first-hand the diversity of views in our vibrant community, and share opinions on comprehensive immigration reform, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, student loans, and affordable housing throughout our community. We are blessed to live in a city of such diversity and enthusiasm!
Afterwards, I was honored to present the Immigrant Legal Resource Center's inaugural Nancy Pelosi award for Immigration and Civil Rights Policy to my friend and colleague Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, who has been one of our nation's highest respected legislators and advocates for immigrant communities around the world. He has been a tireless advocate for the DREAM Act, and has made the success of our nation's immigrant youth a top priority throughout his distinguished career. It was a pleasure to share the stage with Senator Durbin and Jose Antonio Vargas, who was being honored with the Philip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy.
Please feel free to forward this information to your family and friends. To learn more about these efforts, to express your views, or to sign up for email updates, please visit my website. I am also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NancyPelosi.
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Member of Congress