Women’s Rights: Gender Pay Gap
Despite the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, equal pay for women is still an issue.
When you account for all factors known to affect pay, women are still paid almost 7% less than men just one year after college- and the gap only grows from there. There has been much argument as to whether the multifaceted wage gap actually exists. Just because the phenomenon of the gender wage gap is multi-faceted does not mean it does not exist.
Women’s “choices” are not necessarily choices.
There is considerable evidence of barriers to free choice of occupations including a lack of unbiased information about job prospects to actual harassment and discrimination in male-dominated jobs.
There is no proof that being a mother makes a woman less productive on the job. Research shows subsidizing the cost of child care and providing paid parental leaves of up to six months would help women return to work sooner and would help men to more equally share care.
When women work in lower paid jobs typically done by women and men work in higher paying jobs, typically done by men, a recent National Bureau of Economic Research study shows that this is responsible for half the wage gap.
Latino women face the largest gap making 54% of white men’s earnings.
Pay inequality is not just a women’s issue, it is also a family issue. Recent research has found that 50% of households with children include a mother that is the sole or primary earner for her family.
The Equal Pay Act has not been updated since 1963. The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act (s. 2199) would add procedural protection for this act, but it has been reintroduced to every Congress since 1997 and continues to fail.
The Equal Pay Bill has been introduced or pending in more than 30 states
Where does Virginia Stand?
The VA- HJ712 supporting legislation regarding Equal Rights Amendment was tabled by the House on Jan 31, 2017.
An attempt was made (SB 1080) to amend the 1974 Virginia Equal Pay Act 126.96.36.199 It would amend the existing law requiring equal pay for equal work irrespective of sex to prohibit unequal provision of benefits and privileges and would prohibit employers from punishing employees for sharing salary information. The amendment would also authorize the court to award attorney fees to an employee whose suit has merit.
In Feb 2017 it was passed by indefinitely in the Committee on Commerce & Labor.
Action Items: Organize a rally on Equal Pay Day, April 4, 2017. Wear red to symbolize how far women and minorities are “in the red” with their pay. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Contact via phone, e-mail, or letters, Senator John Warner, asking him to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Contact Republican David Brat of the 7th Congressional District of VA and a member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protection where the proposed HR-1787 Fair Pay Act of 2015 is stalled.
Contact Republican Tom Garrett of the 5th Congressional district, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to re-introduce the HR-6030 Pay Equity for All Act.