Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, a landmark bill designed to strengthen equal pay protections and combat pay discrimination. The bill’s passage comes on the heels of a recent Center for American Progress study showing that most new jobs being filled by women are in industries with larger-than-average gender pay gaps. Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at CAP, issued the following statement in response to today’s vote:
Today’s vote is a critical step forward in the fight for equal pay. All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness, and that includes being paid fairly for the work that they do, regardless of gender. Women who are full-time, year-round workers are paid just 80 cents on the dollar when compared with their male peers, and the gap for women of color is even wider. This comes at a tremendous cost to families and to our economy as a whole. The Paycheck Fairness Act includes specific provisions to address the problems that have hindered equal pay enforcement and shielded discriminatory pay practices from scrutiny, and its passage is long overdue.
Rhetorical support for equal pay will not pay the bills. While members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are often quick to tout their support for equal pay, they have consistently retreated to partisan corners when concrete reforms are being debated. True equal pay reform must include robust pay data collection to monitor employer practices, the closing of legal loopholes, stronger remedies to deter bad behavior, anti-retaliation protections, and limitations on the use of salary history. Half-measures put forward to support equal pay are not enough.
Outside of the halls of Congress, equal pay is not a partisan issue. It is time for Congress to get on board and support real reform, like the Paycheck Fairness Act. Our representatives can fight for women—the backbone of America’s economy—or they can continue to defend a status quo that perpetually pays women less than they’re worth.
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