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Strengthening the Middle Class: Ensuring Equal Pay for Women

Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

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SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Read the full testimony (CAP Action).

To close the gender pay gap, we must address the root causes of women’s lower wages, which includes the segregation of men and women into different kinds of jobs and the inflexibility of the workplace to women’s greater responsibilities for family care. There could not be a more important time to address the issue of gender pay equity. Women are now half of all workers on U.S. payrolls and two-thirds of mothers are bringing home at least a quarter of their family’s earnings. This means the gender pay gap is not just a woman’s issue, it is a family issue that affects the millions of young, old, and middle-aged Americans who rely on a woman breadwinner or co-breadwinner in their family.

With the Great Recession leading to many more lay offs among men than women, millions of women today are supporting their families through these tough economic times. Making sure that every woman earns a fair day’s pay is increasingly important for family economic well-being. The Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act address these specific issues. As an economist, I’ll highlight some of the gender pay issues that I think are most important with respect to these two pieces of legislation and then tell you why there could not be a better time to move forward on them.

CAP Action Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Read the full testimony (CAP Action).

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