Policymakers, legal advocates and top White House officials were among the many stakeholders on hand to push for greater pay equity between men and women during this year’s iteration of the day-long advocacy event. Equal Pay Day, which this year takes place in the middle of Women’s History Month, aims to raise awareness of gender-based compensation issues and highlight legislative solutions to those issues.
“Equal Pay Day–the day of the year when women working in the U.S. finally earn the same amount as men did in the year before–is an unfortunate reminder that historic wage inequity continues,” said Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor. “The Biden-Harris administration has made unprecedented investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act and remains determined to remove barriers that prevent women from obtaining good-paying jobs found in the projects these investments will fund to help close the gender wage gap.”
Wendy Chun-Hoon, director of the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and Jennifer Klein, assistant to the president and director of the Gender Policy Council, were among those who met with state legislative leaders invited to participate in the White House event. Legislators from states tackling gender equality issues like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, (including the state's Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard), were represented at the event.
“States have long been on the frontlines of fighting to close the gender pay gap and, in the last few years, pay transparency efforts have emerged as a critical tool to achieve equal pay,” according to information from the White House. “Eight states have now enacted salary range transparency laws, which require employers to disclose salary ranges to job applicants, either in job postings, during the hiring process, or upon request.”
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Biden also announced executive actions aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap and promoting fair pay, transparency and equity for federal employees, contractors and job applicants in addition to advocating the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would “strengthen existing equal pay protections, further combat discriminatory pay practices, and enhance penalties for certain equal pay violations,” according to the White House.
“To build an inclusive economy, we need to enable workers to obtain jobs based on their interests, skills and aptitude rather than gender, race or ethnicity, and promote good-paying jobs that follow fair wage setting practices, like those found in union employment, to help to eliminate the wage gap,” Su adds.
Statistics from the Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan indicate Black women, Native American women, Latina women, LGBTQ individuals and mothers all earn less than Asian American and white women. Native American women, per the association, make only $0.51 on the dollar when compared to men, and Latina women were not far ahead of them making $0.54.
The gender wage gap is not only discriminatory, it undermines the financial stability of families and slows our economic growth. Despite current protections, inadequate remedies and limited enforcement tools have allowed gender-based wage discrimination to persist—leaving women, particularly women of color, without the pay they deserve,” said Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Robert C. “Bobby” Scott.