Monday, April 19, 2010

We All Deserve a World Where Women Receive Equal Pay

Today on April 20 -- a full four months into the year -- women across the country will observe the date on the calendar when our wages finally catch up with men’s wages from last year. That’s right; it takes women 16 months, on average, to earn what men make in only 12 months. For African American women and Latinas it takes even longer because the pay gap is even wider.

It’s shameful that the historic pay gap, rather than decreasing, is actually increasing. Women now earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. So women across the country are coming together for rallies, receptions, and “Un-Happy” Hours, wearing red to show that women’s paychecks are in the red.

But the pay gap isn't just a woman’s issue; it’s an issue for all working families.

According to the Center for American Progress women are the primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner in two-thirds of American families. The gap hurts everyone – spouses, children, aging parents, our extended families – because there is less money to help make ends meet; less money for groceries, rent, clothes, doctor’s visits, and to ensure that our families are self-sufficient.

But there’s something we can do about it.

We can all come together to build support for the Paycheck Fairness Act (S 182), federal legislation that passed the House last year. Now, the Senate is poised to take action and we must speak out.

The act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, enhance remedies, prohibit retaliation against workers who share wage information, and provide the government with new tools to monitor and address pay inequities. Passage is critical -- particularly in these economically perilous times when the self-sufficiency of women and their families is so at risk.

This legislation must move NOW. There's no time like the present. Take a moment, right now, and contact your Senators today, urging them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Women who work hard every day should be paid fairly. It's been nearly 47 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed. We can't wait another forty-seven to close this gap. Working women and their families -- all of us -- deserve better.