Women’s Leader: Paycheck Fairness Act Is Long Overdue

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the reality is that women in the United States still face a punishing wage gap, one that is even worse for women of color. The Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced today by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), will update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, helping our country to achieve pay equity for all workers.

More than 55 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women overall who work full-time, year-round are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the National Partnership for Women & Families. Latinas are typically paid 53 cents, Native American women 58 cents, Black women 61 cents and Asian women 85 cents for every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men for full-time, year-round work.

For women and families, the wage gap is so much more than a cents-on-the-dollar figure. Every cent lost is money that America’s women — the majority of whom are key breadwinners for their families — could be spending on child care or groceries. A lack of fair pay means women have less money for health insurance premiums and college tuition. The gender wage gap adds up to chasms in opportunity and hampers women’s ability to thrive and save for the future.

We applaud members who support the Paycheck Fairness Act, but closing the wage gap will require more than a one-policy solution. We urge Congress to support and swiftly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act as well as legislation that will raise the federal minimum wage, address sexual harassment in the workplace, strengthen protections against pregnancy discrimination, and ensure all working people have access to paid sick days, paid family and medical leave and predictable schedules.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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