On the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Obama White House has announced a series of actions that they are taking to advance equal pay.
A White House Fact Sheet described the new administrative steps:
· EEOC Action on Pay Data Collection: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in partnership with the Department of Labor, is publishing a proposal to annually collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees. The proposal would cover over 63 million employees. This step – stemming from a recommendation of the President’s Equal Pay Task Force and a Presidential Memorandum issued in April 2014 – will help focus public enforcement of our equal pay laws and provide better insight into discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations. It expands on and replaces an earlier plan by the Department of Labor to collect similar information from federal contractors.
· Call to action: The President is renewing his call to Congress to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination. States are increasingly taking action to fight pay discrimination, such as California and New York which passed equal pay laws last year and a number of states that will see legislation introduced this year. The President urges states—and employers—to take action to advance pay equality.
· White House Report: The Council of Economic Advisers is releasing an issue brief, “The Gender Pay Gap on the Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” that explores the state of the gender wage gap, the factors that influence it, and policies put forward by this Administration that can help address it. The brief highlights that the U.S. gender wage gap is now 2.5 percentage points larger than the average for industrialized countries. It also points to significant progress made since 2000 by the United Kingdom to reduce their pay gap by almost 9 percentage points and by Japan, Belgium, Ireland, and Denmark to reduce each of theirs by around 7 percentage points.
· 2016 White House Summit: The White House will host a Summit on “The United State of Women” on May 23rd together with the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute, and Civic Nation. The summit, which comes nearly two years after the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, will create an opportunity to mark the progress made on behalf of women and girls domestically and internationally over the course of this Administration and to discuss solutions to the challenges they still face. The Summit is being held with additional cooperation from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, the Tory Burch Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
President Obama didn’t sign The Lilly Ledbetter Act and forget the issue of equal pay. In the last few years, the pay gap has narrowed, but women still earn 21% less than men. Unlike Donald Trump, President Obama is fighting to make America even greater by working to wipe out the pay gap.
The pay gap isn’t a “women’s issue” as Republicans like to label it. When a woman makes less than a man for no other reason than her gender, it is an act of discrimination that impacts all women, American families, and the broader economy.
President Obama has been a tireless fighter for equal pay. It is one of the great shames of our nation that such a basic American right is up for debate. Equal pay is a matter of economic opportunity and fairness.
Equal pay isn’t a women’s fight or Obama’s fight. It’s everyone’s fight, and we all must stand together to erase the pay gap.