U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, issued the following statement on Tuesday to recognize Equal Pay Day -- the day that marks how far into the calendar year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Equal Pay Day was created in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.
"It's astonishing and saddening to think that in 2012, women still get paid less than men for doing the same work. As we pause today to reflect on the need for an "Equal Pay Day,' we should also honor the progress women have made in our nation's workforce. American women make up half our labor force and are the primary or co-breadwinners in six out of ten households, but still face wage discrimination.
"In Delaware, on average, women are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $9,505 between full-time working men and women. Women of color experience even greater disparity, with African-American women working full-time in Delaware being paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to men. Latinas in Delaware are paid just 53 cents on the dollar.
"Equal pay for equal work is more than just basic fairness, it will also reduce the financial strain many families are currently facing. I applaud the efforts of so many to close the wage gap, including my colleague, Senator Barbara Mikulski, who introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, of which I'm a proud cosponsor. Today, I re-pledge myself to fighting to end pay discrimination for Delawareans and all Americans. "