National Partnership for Women & Families

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From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

Today of All Days, Be Heard!

August 26, 2010 | Workplace Fairness

Today is Women's Equality Day, when we celebrate the fact that, 90 years ago, a group of dedicated women and men made history when the 19th Amendment passed, guaranteeing a woman's right to vote.

We celebrate their legacy by continuing the fight for women's equality - and we need your help. Add your voice to our latest campaign for equal pay for equal work: We are gathering signatures for a special petition calling on Senators to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Looking back, it is hard to believe how hard the fight for women's suffrage was. Those who opposed women voting -- like President Grover Cleveland, who observed that "sensible and responsible women do not want to vote"-- were out of step with the march of time. We can only hope that 90 years from now, we feel the same way about those who are standing in the way of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help women exercise their rights to equal pay on the job.

The sad truth is, women working full time are still paid only 77 cents to a man's dollar. For African American and Hispanic women the numbers are even worse: 62 cents and 52 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to a full time working white man. This is tough news for American households, because in six out of ten families, women are the primary or co-breadwinner. Every time a woman is shortchanged, the whole family suffers, particularly in today's economy.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would help to close that wage gap. The House has already passed the bill, and it has the full support from the White House. But the Senate hasn't voted yet. It's time to change that. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help women get equal pay for equal work by:

  • making - - it harder for employers to hide pay discrimination;
  • helping - - train women and girls about salary negotiations;
  • supporting - - government collection of critical wage data; and
  • rewarding - - employers that have good pay practices.

It's time to remind Senators how important women's earning are, and that we're counting on them to help us continue the progress.

So today, in honor of the suffragists who gave us a voice, let's speak out and be heard!

Tell your Senators that you expect them to get on the right side of history and vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

And if you need to brush up on your 19th Amendment history, click here for the School House Rock version.


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