The ACLU works to end discrimination in the workplace and ensure that all workers — regardless of sex, race, national origin, age or disability—are able to bring home every dollar they rightfully earn. As a result of discrimination, including employers’ reliance on gender stereotypes, women lack parity with men in earnings.
In addition, to wage discrimination, women often lack full access to traditionally-male occupations and are steered into lower-paying and less desirable sectors. Industries dominated by women remain the least valued, and women are disproportionately represented in lower-paying and lesser-power jobs. No family should have trouble making ends meet because of illegal discrimination.
We also advocate for the passage of legislation that protects access to the right to go to court to fight discrimination—like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which in 2009 gave employees back their day in court to challenge discriminatory pay practices, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will give employees the legal tools they need to challenge the wage gap itself. The ACLU also works to change unfair employment practices that disproportionately harm women suffering from intersecting forms of discrimination and perpetuate inequality on racial, ethnic, and national origin grounds, such as the exclusion of home care workers from wage and overtime protections under federal law.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's signing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This landmark piece of federal anti-discrimination law was one of the very first to address gender-based pay disparities. On the day he signed it, President Kennedy called the act a "first step" which "affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes." But he noted that "much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity."
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Right now, in stores, offices and boardrooms across America millions of women are being paid less than men doing the same job. These women are our sisters, daughters, wives and friends. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help end the wage gap, and make sure women get equal pay for equal work. Ask Your Members of Congress to Co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act Today.
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The ACLU, ACLU affiliates, and other partners are working to achieve pay equity. Learn more on our cases about pay discrimination, hiring and promotions, and gender steering.
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To address pay discrimination, the ACLU advocates for the passage of legislation that protects the right to go to court to fight discrimination. This advocacy includes fighting for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which in 2009 gave employees back their day in court to challenge discriminatory pay practices, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will give employees the legal tools they need to challenge the wage gap itself.
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