On Equal Pay Day, Women’s Leader Calls on Congress to 'Level the Playing Field' by Passing Fair and Family Friendly Workplace Policies

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

“Today is a sobering reminder that not nearly enough has been done to address unfair wages in this country. Equal Pay Day marks how far into 2015 women employed full time, year round have had to work to catch up with what men were paid in 2014. At a time when women’s wages are essential to families and our economy, this gap is appalling and defies common sense. It is past time for Congress to do something about it.

A new report released by the National Partnership yesterday confirms that the wage gap is pervasive and punishing, especially for mothers, single mothers and mothers of color. Mothers who work full time, year round in the United States are paid 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers. Single mothers are paid just 58 cents for every dollar. And African American and Latina mothers are paid just 59 cents and 49 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

These stunning losses have a real impact on women’s ability to afford basic necessities for their families, as our analysis also clearly shows. And we know from this and other research that the gap spans geography, race and ethnicity, industry, education level and other similar factors. At its current rate, experts estimate that it will take another four decades for the gap to close on its own. These new data make it painfully clear that America’s women and families cannot afford to wait.

As our new report outlines, policies that promote fair pay and supportive workplaces, such as paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, more predictable work schedules, an increase in the minimum wage and protections for pregnant workers are what are truly needed to address the wage gap. These fair and family friendly workplace policies would help level the playing field and give all women the fair shot they need to support themselves and their families while fully contributing to the economy.

Some lawmakers are gathering on Capitol Hill today to urge their colleagues to advance a proposal that would help break the harmful patterns of discrimination that contribute to the wage gap — the Paycheck Fairness Act. We commend their leadership. All members of Congress should recognize that the wage gap is doing real and lasting damage to women, families and our economy and commit to passing this and the other workplace policies and protections the country needs.”

The National Partnership’s report, analyses specific to women of color, a state-by-state analysis, and state rankings are all available at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.

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 all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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