Equal pay is key to the economic recovery for women workers
The two major crises that have roiled the country over the past year — the coronavirus pandemic and a long overdue reckoning on the prevalence of racial injustice — have focused new scrutiny on an old problem: the need for better policies to protect women’s jobs and wages. Both crises have been exacerbated by policymakers’ repeated failure to address longstanding inequities and strengthen workplace protections that could bolster women’s economic standing, thus threatening the prospects for a full economic recovery.
In this environment, it is fitting that the U.S. House of Representatives is preparing, again, to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that has languished for decades yet includes many much-needed policies to improve workers’ wages, from strengthening equal pay protections and enforcement to combatting discriminatory pay practices. Its failure to become law, in large part due to Senate inaction, is a stark reminder of lawmakers’ unwillingness to disrupt a status quo built on undervaluing women workers and the stubborn persistence of pay discrimination.
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Research Associate, Women’s Economic Security