Washington, D.C. – In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. Fast forward 52 years, and we’re still far from equality. For women to make as much money as men did in 2014, they would have to work until today — April 14.
On average, women are paid 78 cents to every dollar a white man makes. If you’re a woman of color, it’s even worse: African American women are paid 64 cents, and Latinas just 54 cents, to every white man’s dollar. Over a woman’s working lifetime, she will be cheated out of $700,000-$2,000,000 in income due to these gender and gender/race wage gaps.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (S.862 / H.R.1619) would bring us a step closer to equal pay for equal work. It would require employers to show that gender pay disparities are based on bona fide factors like education, training or experience and not sex. The act would also prohibit retaliation against employees who ask about wage practices or disclose their own pay, and strengthen penalties for equal pay violations.
The gender and gender/race wage gaps not only affect women’s spending power and the economic well-being of their families, they also penalize women’s retirement security by creating gaps in Social Security benefits, pension amounts and their ability to save and invest.
NOW activists are organizing through our network of hundreds of chapters and state organizations for equal pay for work of equal value — that’s just simple justice. It’s time for Congress to do its part: stand up for women and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.