Fifty Years After the Equal Pay Act Became Law, The Promise of Equal Pay Remains Unfulfilled
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 10, 2013 —
"When President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law 50 years ago today, the United States took a major step toward eradicating discrimination in women’s wages. But today, the promise of that landmark law remains unfulfilled and that is a blot on our nation and a betrayal of our commitment to fairness and equal opportunity.
In 1963, women made up just one-third of the country’s workforce. Today, women are nearly half of workers, and primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households with children. Women’s wages are critical to families and our economy yet women in every corner of the country are being shortchanged due to blatant discrimination and antiquated stereotypes about ‘women’s work’ and the roles women play.
Today, women working full time, year round are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual loss of more than $11,000. The gap for women of color is even worse, which is appalling. And a significant body of research proves what women across the country know from personal experience: The wage gap exists regardless of women’s geography, occupation, education or work patterns.
It is time for this Congress to recognize that the Equal Pay Act simply was not enough. The Paycheck Fairness Act
would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, help to break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. America’s women and families urgently need it, and it is long past time for Congress to make it a priority.
This anniversary is a stark reminder of how many decades women and their families have been losing critical income due to the gender-based wage gap. We urge all women and men and their families, and especially employers and lawmakers, to use it as an opportunity to say ‘enough is enough’ and commit to making unequal pay a thing of the past."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.