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Public Statements

50th Anniversary of Equal Pay Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, 119 years ago, in 1894, a study by the AAUW and the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor found that men were making more than twice as much as women for jobs like bookkeeping.
Forty-eight years later, as millions of women like my mother entered the factories to help fight World War II, the War Labor Board issued General Order 16, declaring that men and women working the same job in the same factory should be paid the same wage.

In 1945, the first Equal Pay Bill was introduced in the House by Chase Going Woodhouse, the second woman and first Democratic woman to be elected to the House from Connecticut. It was reintroduced every year for 18 years. President Dwight Eisenhower called it ``a matter of simple justice'' in his State of the Union.

And 50 years ago this week--on June 10th, 1963--President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law.
The Equal Pay Act was supposed to end, and I quote, ``the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job.'' But fifty years later, women are still paid only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.

It has been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act, and 120 years since we first studied pay inequity. Haven't America's women waited long enough? It is time to come together, give the Equal Pay Act real teeth, It is time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so that men and women in the same job--get the same pay. It is that simple.

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