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50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, fifty years ago when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, he stated that ``when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes.'' Yet a half century later, women still do not have equality in their pay. In 1963, women made an average of 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Today, women nationwide make on average 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. According to a new report from the American Association of University Women, women in my Congressional District still earn only 74 cents for every dollar earned by men-progress, but not nearly enough.

With the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act upon us, and as American women continue to encounter lower pay in the workplace, I can think of no better action to take than to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Here's why.

If the United States adopts a policy of paycheck fairness, it will put $200 billion more into the economy every year. That comes out to about $137 for every white woman per pay check, and approximately $300 for every woman of color who are doubly discriminated against.

And with a record number of women in the workforce, wage discrimination is hurting the majority of American families, both in terms of their economic security today and their retirement security tomorrow. This means fewer resources to pay the mortgage, send kids to college, or have a decent retirement.

Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act will close loopholes that allow pay discrimination to continue. The bill requires employers to demonstrate pay disparity is related to job-performance-not gender. It prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers, and it strengthens remedies for pay discrimination by increasing compensation women can seek.

Fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, the law has brought more equity to the workplace, but neither President Kennedy nor today's leaders can say our job is done.

Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act because pay equity means economic growth for America's women and their families.


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