The Feminist Majority co-sponsored a hearing today on the Paycheck Fairness Act. This legislation was the first bill, along with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to be passed by the current House of Representatives. If passed in the Senate and signed into law, the bill would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and by barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House in the last Congress, but was never sent to the Senate floor.
The Feminist Majority also signed on to a letter (see PDF) urging the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act along with nearly 300 coalition organizations. In a statement, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said “Congress must take the necessary steps to close the wage gap. Women do not get a 25% discount on their bread, rent or other living costs. Immediate passage by the Senate of the Paycheck Fairness Act is the next essential step to close the wage gap for women.”
American women make 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn and the pay gap is significantly wider for women of color. In a report released this week by the Government Accountability Office that was requested by Representative Carolyn Maloney and Senators Harkin and Kennedy, the GAO found that an 11 cent pay gap remains for government employees and that 7 cents of this gap cannot be explained by educational or experiential differences.
Also this week, on Equal Pay Day, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) reintroduced the Fair Pay Act. This bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to include prohibiting wage discrimination on the basis of sex, national origin, or race and would require equal pay for jobs requiring comparable skill.###