Washington, D.C. — Today, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed a bill strengthening the state’s equal pay law, including new provisions to prohibit pay discrimination based on gender identity and to promote greater pay transparency. Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Jocelyn Frye issued the following statement in response:
I commend Gov. Hogan and Maryland lawmakers for taking concrete steps to strengthen the state’s equal pay law and for their efforts to make equal pay a reality for all Maryland workers. All workers in Maryland and across the United States deserve to be paid fairly for their work, and this commonsense measure represents welcome progress on that front. Importantly, this measure adds protections to prohibit pay discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity and to help ensure that workers are not unfairly penalized for discussing or raising questions about their pay. These provisions will provide a critical protection to vulnerable communities, particularly transgender individuals who face significant wage disparities and workplace discrimination, and foster more understanding and openness in pay practices.
Unfortunately, the gender wage gap remains a pervasive issue in the United States, undermining the immediate and long-term economic security of women and their families. But there are steps that policymakers can and should take to ensure that pay discrimination has no role in what workers earn. Now is the time for Congress to act to make equal pay a reality for all Americans.
Women in Maryland earn, on average, 85 cents for every dollar earned by men. This wage gap is even more stark for women of color: Latinas and African American women in Maryland earn just 47 cents and 69 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, respectively.
Nationally, the gender wage gap currently stands at 21 percent, meaning that women, on average, earn only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. This gap is even larger for women of color, with African American women earning 60 cents for every dollar earned by white men and Native American women and Latinas earning only 59 cents and 55 cents, respectively. In April, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief outlining measures that policymakers can pursue to establish fair pay practices, combat pay discrimination, and close the wage gap.
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