Women Are Only Half Way to Having Equal Pay With Men

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Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) released the following statement in recognition of the 43rd anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act, which was celebrated on June 10:

"Forty-three years ago, President John Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act and called it the first step in addressing 'the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job.' At that time, women earned 59 cents for each dollar earned by a man.

"We are aware of the tremendous strides women have made in the workforce since then. Not only are women entering the workforce at a faster pace than ever before, women strive every day to dispel stereotypes and surpass expectations. The Center for Women's Business Research reports that this year there are over 197,000 privately-held women-owned firms in Maryland, accounting for more than 47 percent of all privately-held firms in the state.

"Over the last four decades, we have made strides in closing the wage gap between women and men.  But there is still more work to be done. Working women now earn about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.  It takes the average woman 16 months to earn what men earn in one calendar year. Equal pay is not only a women's issue, it's a family issue. Women are often providing a significant share of their family's income, and in many cases they are the sole wage-earner.

"Acknowledging the historical significance of this anniversary reaffirms our commitment to continue the fight for gender equality in every arena. Working women in Maryland are farther along the road to equal pay than women in many states; however each of us must still work toward achieving the very important and realistic goals of the Equal Pay Act.

"Action is required on the part of business owners and executives to advance corporate compensation practices with equal benefits. Action is also required from policymakers to strengthen equal pay laws, and improve their enforcement. Finally, if our nation is to achieve the goals set in back in 1963, it requires action from the American people, refusing to allow obstacles or ignorance to impede the success of women in the work force."

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