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What People Are Saying About Equal Pay Day

Photo courtesy of equalrights.org

Today is Equal Pay Day, and groups representing working women from around the country are talking about the importance of closing the pay gap, once and for all. 

The National Women's Law Center is hosting a blogger carnival on Equal Pay Day. See the full list of blogs here

The Department for Professional Employees (DPE), AFL-CIO, sends us Why Women Don’t Deserve Equal Pay:

Equal Pay Day is April 9 and a good time to reflect on the 1963 passage of the Equal Pay Act. In short, the law prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who are performing similar work under similar conditions. Each year since this law was passed, the Department of Labor has issued a report on the gap between the pay of men and women. Why? Because, despite the law the gap has not disappeared. For example, the gap between the pay of men and women in professional and technical occupations has only decreased by 3.4% between 2003 and 2011. Why? I am left with the only logical conclusion one could reach: “Women don’t deserve equal pay.”

After all, aren’t women a small part of the workforce?

No, nearly 67 million women are employed and makeup 47% of the labor force.

Aren’t women always taking time out of work to have children?

No, in fact, even among women with children under the age of one, almost 56% of them work either full- or part-time.

Aren’t women typically in low-paying service sector jobs?

No, women make up large percentages of managerial, professional, technical and related occupations. In fact, 51% of working women are employed in professional and technical jobs.

Aren’t women working for a second income so the family can have a few extras around the house?

No, actually working outside the home is no longer an option for most women, regardless of race, age and marital status. Both parents were employed in 59% of married-couple families with children under the age of 18. Since 1960, there has been a substantial increase in the number of families maintained solely by women.

Read the rest on DPE's website

The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) asked its members what equal pay means to them. Here are some of their answers:

“Pay equality means finally breaking the glass ceiling, which inhibits a woman’s self-esteem, health & well-being; means long due recognition that women have great working skills for success.”—Deborah Spencer, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)

 “A wage that a woman can raise and support her family equal to what a man would do, ‘Breadwinner.’”—Cecelia Leto, United Steelworkers (USW)

“Pay equity means to me that I am respected the same as a man; I am acknowledged for my skills and my intellect, not seen as the “lesser” gender; and that the playing field is finally level.”—Darlene Smith, AFT

“Being ‘respected’ for the knowledge I bring daily to my job. It’s also about the future for our daughters.”—Lisa Ciccone, IFPTE

“Fair wages benefits that would equal a living wage and keep up with inflation.”—Elsie Issacson, Communications Workers of America (CWA)

“Pay equity means that I can take care of me and my family if I don’t have a husband. Treat me as an equal when it comes to wages.”—Dorothy Grauer, AFT

“Respect due to me.”—Bridget Bryant, IFPTE

 “Recognizing that women are providing as vital a role in the workforce as men.”—Mabel Serrano, CWA

“Equal pay and respect for the work one does no matter the gender. Gender should not tip the wage scale.”—Timothy Rudolph, IFPTE

CLUW writes:

Last week (on April 4), the Coalition of Labor Union Women joined with 100 organizations by sending a letter to President Obama calling on the president to issue an executive order that would prohibit retaliation against employees of federal contractors for discussing or inquiring about their wages. You can find the letter here.

Our efforts to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act are critical. The Paycheck Fairness Act is comprehensive legislation that would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and bar retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. The bill strengthens the Equal Pay Act to ensure that effective protection is enacted against sex-based pay discrimination. Please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask your representative to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Read more on Equal Pay Day for CLUW

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