Urge the Senate to Move on Paycheck Fairness!
"If the Paycheck Fairness Act had been the law, I would have talked about my salary without fear, and I likely would have known where I stood in comparison to the men I worked with and those I supervised. Instead, without the Paycheck Fairness Act, I wasn’t able to ask, and I made less."
- Kerri Sleeman, an AAUW member in Michigan, speaking before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on April 1
At a recent Senate committee hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199/S. 84), AAUW member Kerri Sleeman bravely shared her experience of learning that men she trained and supervised were being paid more than her – simply because they were male breadwinners. Kerri crisscrossed the country to Washington, D.C., for a whirlwind trip – lasting fewer than 24 hours! – to drive home the message that no one should be paid less than their value and it's long past time for our lawmakers to do something about gender pay discrimination.
Unfortunately, our senators didn't seem to get that message – on April 9, a minority of senators blocked a procedural vote to debate and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
We need your help: Make sure your senators know that this issue isn't going away – and that we are certainly not going away either. Please contact your senators and urge them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act when it comes up for a vote again.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prevent the original legislation from fully addressing the pay gap. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers to prove that pay disparity is based on a legitimate business reason not related to gender, or due to seniority, merit, or productivity. It would also prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss or ask about salary information.
As Kerri said at the Senate committee hearing, the Paycheck Fairness Act could not be more important: "Given the landscape, women cannot close the pay gap by ourselves. We need policymakers to do their part, ensuring that the protections and assistance of the Paycheck Fairness Act are there to help both employees and employers work together towards a more equitable workplace."
We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the persistent gender pay gap. Please write your senators now!
Women working full time, year round, still earn an average of 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, and that pay gap is worse for women of color. When you drill down into the numbers even more and do an "apples to apples" comparison of women and men working in the same jobs, in similar geographic regions, and with the same levels of education, the pay gap shrinks – but it doesn't go away. No matter the size of the gap, the lost income adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over a woman's lifetime.
Thanks again for helping out with this push – together, let’s send a message to our senators, loud and clear, that they need to stand with women and working families by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act!