“Even forty years after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, women only receive .77 cents for every dollar men earn, and the gap is significantly more for women of color. In Pennsylvania, women who work full time earn 74.8 percent of what men earn. In Indiana, its 72.6, and in North Carolina women earn 79.7 to each dollar earned by men. On average, families forfeit $4,000 a year because women don’t receive equal pay for equal work. I am a proud sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will toughen penalties in enforcing the provisions of the Equal Pay Act and help realize the promise of pay equity,” Clinton said.
Obama talked about the pay gap as a form of workplace discrimination, “This pay gap is an ugly reflection of the discrimination that still exists in the workplace. And as the son of a single mother and the father of two young daughters, I believe we have a responsibility to close it. That’s why I’ve fought to ensure equal pay for equivalent work in Illinois and in the U.S. Senate, and proposed increasing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s funding and staffing, and making sure it is led by appointees with a strong commitment to ending discrimination. And that’s why tomorrow, I will vote for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to overturn an unfair Supreme Court decision and ensure that workers can seek a remedy for any paycheck that reflects pay discrimination, no matter when they received it.”
Unequal pay for equal work is one of the most accepted and engrained forms of discrimination in our society. It doesn’t seem to matter that there are more women in various occupations than ever before. The pay is still not equal. Unequal pay is a 19th Century form of discrimination that the United States should have left behind long ago. An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work is an inherent American value, and it is sickening that we still have to talk about a pay gap in 2008.