Help get equal pay for working women

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By Abbey Khan

Today is Equal Pay Day, yet there is still a gender-based wage gap. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, in conjunction with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), full-time working women in the United States are paid on average $10,622 less than their male counterpart, costing families billions of dollars annually.

To get an idea of the impact these lower wages have on women, lets say that this gap were eliminated, then:
*Alaskan women could buy 1.7 years’ worth of food
*Connecticut’s working women could afford 15 more months of rent
*Women in Michigan could make 10 more months of mortgage and utility payments
*Californian women could buy 2,100 more gallons of gas

On average, women working full-time are only paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working men. This gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since the 1963 Equal Pay Act went into effect. At this rate, the wage gap may not be fully eliminated until 2058, when today’s high school students will be preparing for retirement.

“Unless lawmakers and employers make eliminating the wage gap a priority once and for all, generations of women and their families are going to continue to suffer due to unfair pay and discrimination,” says Debra L. Ness, President of National Partnership for Women & Families. “That’s why the re-introduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act in Congress today is so important. This legislation is critically important to efforts to end wage discrimination and ensuring that working women are paid fairly.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act was originally passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the last Congress but fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate last year. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will re-introduce the act today in honor of Equal Pay Day. If successful, the act will help close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protection for women.

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