President Clinton has announced a new equal pay initiative that would provide the Labor Department and the Equal Opportunity Commission with a total of $14 million to identify wage discrimination, educate employers and workers about women’s right to equal pay, and to recruit more women for higher-paid work.
Women earned only 58 cents for every $1 than men earned when former President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. The pay gap has narrowed since then, but women still earn only 75% of what men do. In his weekly radio address this Saturday, President Clinton said “Too many employers still under-value and under-pay work done by women,” and contended that the United States should not be satisfied with anything less than equal pay.
President Clinton also urged Congress to support legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Daschle (R-SD) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). The Paycheck Fairness Act would allow full compensatory and punitive damages for equal pay violations and would raise the status of gender-based wage discrimination to that of race and ethnicity-based discrimination.