Equal Pay for Equal Work

Jun 14, 2013
Comment from Cleaver

On June 10th, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. But unbelievably, women still only earn about 77-cents on the dollar compared to men. This is unacceptable.

President Kennedy signed this important legislation in 1963. At that time, women were earning only 59-cents on the dollar compared to men.

So, has there been progress? Indeed.

But enough progress? Absolutely not.

And for African-American and Latina women, the gap is even greater. There is so much work yet to be done.

The Paycheck Fairness Act gives us the opportunity to move forward in equalizing pay in the workforce. Now, it seems to me, this is just good commonsense. But it will not happen without a fight. The Equal Pay Act has not been strengthened or even updated in the last 50 years. Not once.

The Paycheck Fairness Act offers the chance to prevent employers from retaliating against workers for discussing their salary, would strengthen remedies for gender-based discrimination, and investigations into and enforcement of pay discrimination laws.

Everywhere I go throughout the Fifth District, people ask me to continue standing up for the middle class. This is another important way, in my opinion, to do just that.

Enough is enough.

Women deserve to be paid the same amount as men – for the same work. This isn’t a women’s issue, it’s a fairness issue. It’s also a family issue. Less money for the same work means fewer dollars for groceries, rent and mortgage payments, child care, doctor’s visits, and the list goes on and on.

We must do this, not only because it will strengthen the middle class and help get our economy back on track. We must do this – because it is the right thing to do.