Target: United States Congress
Goal: Give women the opportunity for equal pay by allowing wage inquiry and limiting employer retaliation
Even today in 2013, women make on average 22 cents less on the dollar than men. This problem spans across every profession and is caused by discrimination, not because women choose lower-paying jobs or money is more important to men (two arguments used by those who disagree with wage equality measures). The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibited discrimination by sex in the workplace, yet wage discrimination has persisted. The Lilly Ledbetter Act passed in 2009 allowed for a longer timeline in which a complainant could pursue a case, but because over 50% of companies require a wage nondisclosure agreement from their employees, many women do not know they are being paid less and cannot inquire about wages thus causing the timeline to expire. Additionally, women lack protection against retaliation from employers if they were to disclose their wage or inquire a coworker’s wage. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which has been pushed and squashed down countless times in Congress and the Senate, would close the loopholes left creating an environment for wage transparency and protect women who pursue their claims in court.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would stop wage discrimination from happening in the first place. The bill would clearly state acceptable reasons for wage differences between men and women with defined business justification. In addition, the bill would allow employees to inquire about their employer’s wage practices without fear of retaliation and it would strengthen penalties for wage discrimination.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would be an enormous step in women’s rights and civil rights, yet it has been squashed several times in the past. Sign the petition below and demand Congress pass this bill and finally give women equal rights in the workplace.
Dear United States Congress,
Recently, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would close the loopholes of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This bill has been pushed down by the Republican House members several times. The Paycheck Fairness Act, if passed, would restructure civil rights amendments that have not been discussed since 1963–50 years ago. The bill would prevent wage discrimination from occurring in the first place and create a fair workplace for all workers despite his or her sex.
The Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009 adjusted the time frame in which a victim of wage discrimination was allowed to bring her case to court but left loopholes open giving employers ammunition to fight against victims. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close those loopholes and require women to be paid fairly.
When roughly half the American workforce is being paid 20%-50% less than their male coworkers performing the same job, there is an obvious equality problem. This problem isn’t just a women’s rights problem or a civil rights problem; it is a human rights issue. Only when all people living in America have equal opportunity to support themselves, their families, and their communities will this violation be righted. The Paycheck Fairness Act will give American women the chance for equal opportunity. I urge you to carefully consider the consequences of squelching this equal opportunity bill and what it will do for America’s citizens and community and advocate to push it forward.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Union History