April 30, 2009
Legislation Needed To Close Gender-Based Wage Gap
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Counsel Deborah J. Vagins, along with Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and leaders in the women’s and business community, briefed Senate staffers today on S. 182, the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill to give working women the legal tools they need to challenge pay discrimination.
“Statistics show there is still a persistent and pernicious pay gap,” said Vagins. “The fight for equal pay for equal work will not resolve itself. We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to help create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated. This bill eliminates loopholes and strengthens weak remedies that have made the Equal Pay Act of 1963 less effective in combating the unlawful wage gap.”
Vagins highlighted provisions of the Act that would address the severe pay disparity of black women and Latinas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average woman earns 78 cents for every dollar that a man earns. In comparison, African-American women take home only 63 cents and Latinas only 52 cents for every dollar of a man’s wages.
In a strong show of support for the Act, Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter inviting other lawmakers to attend the Senate briefing today because of the critical role that fair pay for women plays in our economic recovery.
At the beginning of this Congress, the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act by a bipartisan vote of 256-163. In addition to the overwhelming support in the House, President Barack Obama has signaled his support for strong fair pay legislation.
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