Maybe third time's the charm? For the third congressional session in a row, Democratic lawmakers have introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, aiming to close the gender pay gap. What is the Paycheck Fairness Act, you may ask? The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, would stiffen penalties for wage discrimination against women and give the government more tools for cracking down on pay inequity.
"Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts," President Barack Obama said in last week's inaugural address. Supporters hope that sentiment will translate into congressional approval of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House but failed to clear the Senate in both 2010 and 2012. They also want policymakers to erase the gender pay gap by passing the Fair Pay Act, aimed at addressing lower pay in female-dominated jobs, and through an executive order allowing employees of federal contractors to discuss their salaries or ask questions about compensation without retaliation.
"Once young women throw their graduation caps in the air, they face increasingly large student loans and gender pay disparities that can make repayment a hardship," said Linda D. Hallman, executive director of the American Association of University Women. "Instead they should enter the working world with the knowledge that pay discrimination will no longer be tolerated and that they will have a fair chance to provide for themselves and their families."
Advocacy groups like AAUW and the National Partnership for Women and Families point to Monday's four-year anniversary of Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, which extended the time period in which you may challenge pay discrimination. "We are asking the president to take the next step," said partnership president Debra L. Ness. "The wage gap results in thousands of dollars in lost income for America's women and families each year. It hurts women, their families and our economy."
What's your view on these legislative efforts to address fair pay?