The American Association of University Women (AAUW) will join members of Congress and other proponents of the Paycheck Fairness Act at a Wednesday press conference to rally support for legislation that would finally put teeth in the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
A U.S. Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act will likely happen in the near future. The bill would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to co-workers. Without this bill, employers can penalize and even fire employees for talking about their salaries. This egregious practice leaves workers in the dark, preventing them from ever finding out about pay discrimination in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act failed to pass two years ago, falling victim to arcane Senate rules.
“Women are paying close attention to the happenings in Washington. The Senate has a second chance to do the right thing not just for women but for the nation,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “When women are being paid less, it doesn’t just affect their families, it affects the U.S. economy.”
On average, women only make 77 cents to the dollar earned by their male counterparts. The numbers are worse for women of color. AAUW has been on the frontlines of this battle for decades, issuing its first of several research reports on the wage gap back in 1913.
“Our base is fired up. Just last month, a Wisconsin lawmaker said that money is more important for men when the state repealed its Equal Pay Enforcement Act. To that we say: Earth to Congress and lawmakers everywhere; women are breadwinners too,” said AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Director Lisa Maatz.
Maatz will speak at the press conference alongside Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and other members of Congress. Leaders from the Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition, which includes a cross section of civil rights, religious, labor, and women’s rights organizations, will be on hand as well. The press conference will begin at 2:30 p.m. in S-211 of the Capitol.