House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act:
"Today, as we mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act, let us take note of how far our nation has come in opening the doors of opportunity to women, while also recognizing the work that still lies ahead.
"When President Kennedy signed the law prohibiting employers from paying men and women different wages for the same work, women were earning only $0.60 to a man's dollar. This gap has narrowed as women earn today, on average, $0.77 to every dollar earned by a man - a level that remains unacceptable. In addition, the recession hit many working women and their families hard, and never has pay parity been more important than at a time when middle-class families are relying on two incomes to make ends meet and as more women become the primary breadwinners for their families. This is especially critical for the 11 million women who lead single-parent homes.
"Democrats recognize that equal pay is not just a women's issue; it is an economic issue that affects every family. While Congress was able to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, making it easier for women to sue employers who deny them equal pay, we must take additional action to ensure equal pay for equal work, including swift consideration and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. I am proud to be a cosponsor of that bill and to have worked for equal pay throughout my time in Congress. I hope Democrats and Republicans will come together to continue the fight for pay equity and recommit ourselves to fairness and equality for all Americans."