Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro released the following statement today responding to a study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) showing the gender-based pay gap is real and undeniable. According to AAUW, women who graduated during the 2007-08 school year and working full time made an average of $35,296 in 2009, compared to an average of $42,918 for men. Even after controlling for factors such as college major or field of employment, one-third of the pay gap was still unexplained.
"Opponents of equal pay have repeatedly dismissed it as a distraction, or a product of women's choices. But this study shows that the pay gap is real and undeniable, manifesting itself at the very beginning of women's careers. The fact that women just one year out of college are making only 82 percent of what their male counterparts make shows pay discrimination is clearly not somehow due to a woman's choice. The existence of a pay gap even after accounting for factors like career and college major demonstrate the need for Congress to act on the issue.
"Congress needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to relieve the financial pressures women face in all stages of their careers. My Republican colleagues can no longer block the legislation, bury their heads in the sand, and claim it is a myth. Our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters deserve better."
DeLauro is the original author of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which she first introduced in 1997, and has reintroduced in every Congress since. The law would put real teeth into the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. The Paycheck Fairness Act would put an end to pay secrecy, strengthen workers' ability to challenge discrimination and bring equal pay law into line with other civil rights laws. President Obama has said he would sign the legislation should it come to his desk.