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Finally, Traction for Equal Pay

July 21, 2010

Obama 2008At the moment, women still make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.  President Barack Obama is now taking action to set things straight.  In his statement released yesterday, he writes:

The gap is even more significant for working women of color, and it affects women across all education levels.  As Vice President Biden and the Middle Class Task Force will discuss today, this is not just a question of fairness for hard-working women.  Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income.  And with so many families depending on women's wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole.  In difficult economic times like these, we simply cannot afford this discriminatory burden.

                He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act at the beginning of his term, and is taking further steps to ensure that enforcement agencies are communicating effectively, that women are aware of their rights as employees, and that employers are receiving support for eliminating wage discrimination in their businesses.  As per the recommendations of the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, the President is urging the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act which amends the Equal Pay Act of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to further enforce equal compensation for equal work between the sexes.

                In a press release issued by the White House, Vice President Joe Biden, Chair of the White House Middle Class Task Force, says:

Women make up nearly half of all workers on U.S. payrolls, and two-thirds of families with children are headed either by two working parents or by a single parent who works. Yet, the workplace has, for the most part, not changed to reflect these realities – and it must.  Closing the gender pay gap, helping parents keep their jobs while balancing family responsibilities, and increasing workplace flexibility – these are not only women’s issues, they are issues of middle class economic security.

                Though it is true that the resolution of these issues is vital to improving the economy, it is a cause of major celebration for feminists who have fought passionately for legislative support on this issue for many years.  It is astounding that it has taken no fewer than 44 presidential terms for the government to visibly commit to making the final push for equal pay.  It is time to close the gap by those 23 U.S. cents.  Once and for all.  Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, the government's efforts toward reproductive justice seem to be taking a step backward...

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