Laura from California and her husband graduated from the same college, with the same degree and interviewed for the same job. There were several openings for the position and both Laura and her husband were made an offer. The catch? Laura's salary offer was 13% less than her husband's.1
Robin from Connecticut worked for years as a copywriter at an advertising agency. When the agency took on a new client, they needed to hire another copywriter. They hired a man with no prior experience and offered him $20,000 a year more than what Robin was making. When she asked why, her employers told her, "he has a wife and children to take care of."2
Sadly, there are millions of stories like these. Today, on average, women only make $0.77 for every dollar a man earns.3 Worse, women can be fired for discussing or revealing their wages.4
Right now we have a chance to do something about it. The Pay Check Fairness Act is pending in Congress right now--and today, Equal Pay Day, members of Congress are discussing this bill and the issue of wage discrimination in meetings all over Capitol Hill. But Congress is only going to act if they hear from hundreds of thousands of us. Can you sign this petition demanding that Congress pass the Paycheck Fairness Act right away? We'll deliver it with our allies at MomsRising.org this week.
The facts when it comes to pay discrimination are really staggering.
- The average, full-time working woman in America makes only $0.77 for every dollar a man makes. At the state level, things can be even more dire--women in Louisiana for example only make $0.67 on the dollar.5
- It's much worse for women of color. African American women make only $0.62 on the dollar and Latinas only $0.546
- These gaps can add up to as much as $24,000 in lost wages every single year. On average, women will lose $431,000(!) over a 40 year working career.7
- Mothers make up 40% of the primary breadwinners in this country and therefore it's not just women who are affected by this discrimination, it's entire families.8
And when women try to fight wage discrimination in their jobs they are often retaliated against or fired because labor laws are filled with loopholes that encourage wage discrimination and make it impossible for women to even sue to rectify it.
Frankly, it's outrageous and it has to stop. The Paycheck Fairness Act can help.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would help bring an end to pay discrimination by closing a set of loopholes in current labor laws that make it near impossible for workers to expose and fix pay discrimination. It would ban employer retaliation against workers who seek to expose wage discrimination, make it easier for workers to join together in class action suits to fight it and give victims full compensation and back pay.9
There is a lot of talk in Washington about the War on Women. Members of both parties have been trying to score political points with rhetoric about which side values women more. At a time when the country is in a serious recession and families are struggling to put food on the table, there is an easy way for politicians to prove it.
They can support and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Click here to sign the petition calling on Congress do that:
--Nita and Shaunna, UltraViolet
1. Families Need Equal Pay for Equal Work, MomsRising.org, April 12, 2012
2. Families Need Equal Pay for Equal Work, MomsRising.org, April 12, 2012
3. Women Can't Afford Unfair Pay Today, National Women's Law Center, April 11, 2012
4. Combating Punitive Pay Secrecy Policies, National Women's Law Center, April 2012
5. The Importance Of Fair Pay For Louisiana Women, National Women's Law Center, April 2012
6. Closing the Wage Gap is Especially Important for Women of Color in Difficult Times, National Women's Law Center, April 2012
7. Closing the Wage Gap is Especially Important for Women of Color in Difficult Times, National Women's Law Center, April 2012
The Top 10 Facts About the Wage Gap, Center for American Progress, April 2012
8. Closing the Wage Gap is Especially Important for Women of Color in Difficult Times, National Women's Law Center, April 2012
9. Women’s Lower Wages Worsen their Circumstances In a Difficult Economy, National Women's Law Center, April 2010