FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Women’s Leader Lauds Harkin, Senate HELP Committee For Holding Hearing on Equal Pay; Urges Senate To Quickly Pass Paycheck Fairness Act
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — March 11, 2010 — "The work to outlaw wage discrimination against women in this country is far from done. We applaud Senator Harkin for recognizing that and for convening today’s hearing on equal pay. And we thank Senators Dodd and Mikulski for continuing to champion the Paycheck Fairness Act. More than a year after the House passed this essential legislation, it is time for the Senate to do the same, so President Obama can sign it into law.
Today in the United States, women are paid just 77 cents to a man’s dollar. The wage gap is even worse for women of color. We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen protections against pay discrimination available under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and to help ensure that a comprehensive mix of strategies is used to combat and undo discriminatory pay practices.
This bill would make it harder for employers to justify wage discrimination; prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages; authorize the government to collect wage data so civil rights enforcement agencies can target their resources; and offer employers technical assistance to help them analyze their pay data and make sure they are not discriminating.
Especially given this punishing recession when women’s wages are so important to families, the Senate should make it a priority to address the persistent wage gap that deepens families’ economic distress. Working women and their families are counting on the Senate to move quickly to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.