by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) marked Equal Pay Day on April 4 by reintroducing her Paycheck Fairness Act.
The legislation would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers' ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees.
Equal Pay Day marks the date when women's wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. Despite making up half the workforce, more than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, American women still make only 80 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by men.
The gap is even wider for women of color, with African American women making 63 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic women making only 54 cents, on average, compared with white men.
'I'm proud to sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act to make sure every woman working to support her family or herself is being paid the same as her male coworkers for the same work,' Murray said in a statement.
'At a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet, we should be working together to make sure women are not being left behind. This shouldn't be a partisan issue, and I'm proud to join my colleagues to keep up the fight to ensure that all the hardworking women across this country are getting paid what they've earned.'
The bill's original Senate cosponsors include Schumer (D-NY), Durbin (D-IL), Menendez (D-NJ), Coons (D-DE), Brown (D-OH), Udall (D-NM), Casey (D-PA), Baldwin (D-WI), Van Hollen (D-MD), Shaheen (D-NH), Gillibrand (D-NY), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), Hirono (D-HI), Feinstein (D-CA), Manchin (D-WV), Heinrich (D-NM), Blumenthal (D-CT), Leahy (D-VT), Booker (D-NJ), Reed (D-RI), Sanders (I-VT), Warren (D-MA), Stabenow (D-MI), Carper (D-DE), Whitehouse (D-RI), McCaskill (D-MO), Cantwell (D-WA), Franken (D-MN), Warner (D-WA), Harris (D-CA), Murphy (D-CT), Nelson (D-FL), Wyden (D-OR), Kaine (D-VA), Hassan (D-NH), Merkley (D-OR), Tester (D-MT), Duckworth (D-IL), and Bennet (D-CO).
A companion bill in the House was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and has 198 cosponsors.
While women earn less than men on average in every state, some states are getting close to closing the gap.
According to a new study by the National Partnership for Women and Families, women earn 89 cents on the dollar in New York and Delaware, 87 cents in Florida, and 86 cents in North Carolina, Rhode Island, California, and the District of Columbia.
The study also found that there are six congressional districts - two in California, two in New York, and one each in Maryland and Texas - where women are paid equal to or slightly more than their male counterparts.
On the other hand, the gender-wage gap is worse for African American women, and even worse for Latinas.
Looking only at the 20 states with the highest population of employed Black women, the analysis found that full-time, year-round employed Black women earn just 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men - 17 cents less than women are paid overall. The disparity for Black women is highest in Louisiana, where they earn just 48 cents on the dollar, followed by Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and New Jersey.
Also looking at just the 20 states with the highest population of Latinas in the workforce, the report found that Latinas are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to their white, male counterparts. That disparity is highest in New Jersey, California, Texas, Washington State, and Maryland.
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