Equal Pay Day is held annually in April to signify the point into a year that a woman must work to earn what a man made the previous year.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one of the most significant trends of the past 50 years has been the movement of women into the paid labor force and the growth of women-owned businesses.
Women now make up half of the U.S. workforce and women-owned firms represent 30 percent of all U.S. businesses.
“But despite all of these gains, and enactment of legislation like the Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Act in 2009, the Census Bureau reports that, on average, full-time working women earn only 77-78 cents to every dollar earned by men.
Things are even worse for African American and Latina women who earn an average of 10 to 19 percent less than their Caucasian female colleagues,” says BPW/USA Foundation CEO, Deborah Frett.
“This wage gap is not due to women’s education levels or personal choices and it hurts workingwomen, their families and employers. Wage discrimination lowers total lifetime earnings, reduces women’s benefits from Social Security and retirement plans and inhibits their ability to save not only for retirement but for other vital lifetime goals.
Women cannot continue to accept the slow pace of wage catch-up that has occurred during the last 30 years.”
“The Senate needs to act now to ensure equal pay by passing The Paycheck Fairness Act - which would prohibit companies from retaliating against workers who discuss salary information. The law would also require employers to prove any pay discrepancies among workers are unrelated to gender, as well as both necessary for the business and tied to job performance.
This bill will close loop holes in current law and empower women to negotiate for equal pay, create incentives for employers to follow the law, and strengthen federal outreach, training and enforcement efforts.” Frett concluded.