Congressman Charles B. Rangel announced that the nation would mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act into law on June 10, 1963. National Equal Pay Day reminds us how far into the current year women must work in order to earn the same pay as men from the preceding year.
"When President Kennedy signed the Fair Pay Act in 1963, women across the nation earned only 59 cents for every dollar earned by men," said Rangel. "Five decades later, women across America still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. In New York, women make just 84 cents for every dollar men make," Rangel stated.
The persisting gap between the salaries of men and women calls for more action to ensure that women earn the same pay as men. That is why Rangel strongly supports The Paycheck Fairness Act, which closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.
"Equal pay should not be a concern limited to women--it affects the whole family. More and more, families depend on women to make ends meet," said Rangel. "When women earn less money, it means there is less income for the daily needs of their family--rent, groceries and doctors' visits--and less money to spend, limiting economic growth."
The Paycheck Fairness Act revises the tolerance of wage discrimination based on other factors other than sex, preventing employers from using education, experience or training as permissible excuses. In addition, the Act requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to conduct data collection on wage information based on sex, race and national origin to eliminate potential prejudice.
This is not the first time Democrats have fought to enact the Paycheck Fairness Act. In 2008 and 2009, the Democratic-led House passed the bill despite the hindering efforts of House Republicans, but Senate Republicans stopped the measure. Just last year, Republicans in both Congresses voted to block the bill.
"Although the Lilly Ledbetter Act has been enacted, we still need to take greater measures to erase inequality in the workplace," said Rangel. "It is 2013 and it is time for Republicans to stand up for American women and help pass the vital Paycheck Fairness Act."