The American Association of University Women marked Equal Pay Day on April 9 by urging Congress and President Barack Obama to take action on pay equity. AAUW research shows that the pay gap still exists when you compare women and men just one year out of college, even within the same major and field. To address this pernicious problem, Congress must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S 84/HR 377), a legislative fix to the nearly 50-year-old Equal Pay Act.
Among other provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act would protect employees from retaliation if they share their wages or ask about employers' wage practices and would implement stronger deterrents designed to stop discrimination before it starts. As a more immediate step, AAUW also asks the president -- who has been vocal in his support for equal pay for equal work -- to address part of the Paycheck Fairness Act now through executive order. The executive order would ban federal contractors from firing or otherwise retaliating against workers who share salary information and wage practices.
The timing of Equal Pay Day this year brings with it a sense of urgency for Congress and the president to act. Both sequestration and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's House-passed budget disproportionately slash programs that help women and their families. Women already earn less on average, and now programs they depend on to make ends meet are being cut. Please join me in contacting your legislatures to see that this act is passed.