Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Paycheck Fairness Act Is an Important Step Toward Securing Equal Pay and Combating Discrimination, Says CAP’s Jocelyn Frye
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Paycheck Fairness Act Is an Important Step Toward Securing Equal Pay and Combating Discrimination, Says CAP’s Jocelyn Frye

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would take important steps forward to help reduce retaliation and pay secrecy, give women better tools to address pay discrimination, and create more accountability for companies to limit unfair gender pay differences. Jocelyn Frye, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in response:

Despite the record number of families where women serve as the primary or co-breadwinner, women continue to earn less than their male counterparts. Full-time, year-round working women today earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, the gender wage gap is even more stark: African American women make 64 cents, while Hispanic women make just 54 cents for every dollar earned by white males. This pay gap is more than just numbers: The economic consequences can be critical not only for women but also for their families by denying them much-needed income when they are trying to make ends meet. Compounding the gender wage gap is the lack of salary transparency, which often prevents women from discussing their salaries with their colleagues or obtaining the information needed to seek legal recourse to address pay discrimination.

The Paycheck Fairness Act is a critical step forward, and I applaud Sen. Mikulski and Rep. DeLauro for their work to ensure that the principle of equal pay for equal work is a reality for all workers. A commitment to equal pay requires more than just words; it requires concrete action to eliminate persistent barriers to equal pay and to strengthen equal pay protections. The Paycheck Fairness Act would do just that by taking specific steps to eliminate pay secrecy and ensure that all women’s workplace contributions are valued fairly. The structural and social barriers behind the pervasive gender wage gap continue to put women and the families they support at an economic disadvantage, and what may seem like pennies translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

Last fall, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief outlining seven actions that could help shrink the gender wage gap, including supporting pay transparency through the Paycheck Fairness Act. Other actions outlined in the brief include raising the minimum wage; raising the tipped minimum wage; supporting fair scheduling practices; investing in affordable, high-quality child care and early childhood education; passing paid sick days legislation; and passing a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.

Related resource: Explaining the Gender Wage Gap by Sarah Jane Glynn

For more information, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328.