Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act on Tuesday in both houses of Congress to address the pay gap between men and women in the US. Although the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, women working full-time, year-round only make 76 cents for every dollar that a man makes. The Act was introduced in recognition of Equal Pay Day, April 19, which marks the day when women’s wages “catch up” with men’s from the previous year. “Women in this country have a stake in the political process, and equal pay is an issue central to women’s economic freedom,” said Rep. DeLauro at a rally held on Tuesday to bring attention to this issue. “Closing the wage gap is a matter of fairness, opportunity and values for all women.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to empower women to negotiate for equal pay, as well as strengthen enforcement of Equal Pay laws, according to Sen. Clinton’s office. The legislation would reinstate the Clinton Administration’s Equal Pay Matters Initiative and demand the continued collection of data on women workers, despite the Bush Administration’s efforts to cease this practice. “According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, working women stand to lose $250,000 over the course of their career because of unequal pay practices,” according to a recent statement from Rep. DeLauro.
If women’s wages continue to increase at such a slow pace, they will not achieve parity until 2042, reports the National Organization for Women (NOW.) “Disparity in pay limits women’s buying power, affects their ability to pay for quality childcare, prevents them from saving for retirement, and hinders them from receiving livable Social Security benefits based on their wages,” said NOW president Kim Gandy. “Pay discrimination not only affects women, but it also puts their families at a disadvantage.”