07.31.08

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Votes to Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work

For Immediate Release 

Contact:  Sean P. Nichols  
July 31, 2008 (202) 225-2661 

Legislation Passed by Democratic Congress will Strengthen Equal Pay Act

Washington – Congresswoman Barbara Lee today backed a comprehensive measure that will help close the gap between men and women and the pay they receive for performing the same job. The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338), approved by a 247 to 178 vote, will strengthen the landmark Equal Pay Act and close the loopholes that have allowed some employers to avoid responsibility for discrimination by paying them less.

Although the wage gap between men and women has narrowed since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, gender-based wage discrimination remains a significant problem for women in the U.S. workforce. 

“The wage gap is most severe for women of color,” stated Congresswoman Lee.  It is absolutely inexcusable that women and especially minority women earn a fraction of what men earn for the same job.”

“African American women earn just 63 cents on the dollar and Hispanic women earn far worse at 52 cents.  In my own state of California, black women working full-time, year round earned only 61 percent, and Hispanic women only 42 percent, of the wages of White men.  This is outrageous.”

The Institute of Women’s Policy Research concluded that this wage disparity will cost a woman anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over her lifetime in lost wages. “In the long term, combined with a decrease in pension income and social security benefits, many women are at risk of falling into poverty as they get older,” stated Lee

The Democratic Congress has taken important steps to stop the practice of discriminatory pay. Last year, the House approved the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, legislation that rectifies a recent Supreme Court decision that has made it harder for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims. 

“The Paycheck Fairness Act builds on Congress’ commitment to ensuring that all Americans are paid equally and fairly for the work that they do,” said Congresswoman Lee.

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