On Equal Pay Day, Schakowsky Calls for Passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act

April 8, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – As we mark Equal Pay Day, Rep. Jan Schakowsky said we must take action to close the wage gap that still exists between women and men. Why is Equal Pay Day marked every April? Because a woman has to work a year, plus three months into the next year, just to earn what a man earns in one year.  That is not right. To fix this it is critical to pass Paycheck Fairness Act, which gives protections to employees and enforces standard for employers.

“In my home state of Illinois a woman who holds a full-time job is paid, on average, $39,150 per year while a man who holds a full-time job is paid $50,746 per year. That means women in Illinois are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. That amounts to an annual pay gap of $11,596 between men and women who work full time in the state.

And that gap is even larger for women of women of color. African-American women are paid 64 cents and Latinas are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to men.”

Women are saying enough is enough. I was proud to stand with President Barack Obama today as he took executive action on the issue of equal pay. He signed an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation. He also signed a Presidential memo establishing new regulations that require federal contractors to give the Department of Labor a summary of statistics on compensation, including gender and race.”

These are great actions by the President, yet we in Congress need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, without delay, to help all women across the country, wherever they work. This legislation is a core pillar of an initiative launched by the House Democratic Women’s Caucus called When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families.  The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act. It provides effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work.”

Equal pay helps women and the entire economy.  Families increasingly rely on women’s wages to make ends meet.  When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families – groceries, rent, child care, and doctors’ visits.”

When women earn lower wages, it carries through into retirement, leaving women with lower social security benefits, pensions and savings. And because women live longer than men on average, they are more likely to outlive those savings.

For all these reasons, I stand with my colleagues who believe we should pass the Paycheck Fairness Act now.”

 ###