Today, April 28, 2009, is Equal Pay Day.
Today marks the point when the average woman’s wages finally catch up with what the average man earned last year.
Women still earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and for women of color, the numbers are even worse. Equal Pay Day is an important reminder of this persistent wage gap and the urgent need to take action to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
We’ve made some progress in the fight for equal pay – the first bill President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That law reversed a damaging Supreme Court decision, which had severly limited the rights of women challenging discriminatory pay..
But the Ledbetter legislation just returned the law to what it had been for decades, before the Roberts Court interfered. We need to pass new legislation to win the fight for fair pay.
The Senate must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act S. 182, a vital next step toward achieving equal pay for equal work by amending the Equal Pay Act. President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act 45 years ago, making it illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work. But loopholes in the law and weak enforcement from the courts allowed many discriminatory practices to continue. The Paycheck Fairness Act addresses these concerns and equips women with the necessary tools with which to fight unequal pay.