NAACP Supports Equal Pay For Equal Work
“PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT” WILL HELP CLOSE THE GAP BETWEEN MEN’S AND WOMEN’S WAGES; WILL BE CONSIDERED BY THE FULL SENATE AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women who work full time still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar men earn. The statistics are even worse for women of color. African-American women make only 62 cents, and Hispanic women only 54 cents, for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. These gaps translate into a loss of almost $20,000 a year for African-American women and almost $24,000 annually for Hispanic women.
In 2011, 7% of African-American and Hispanic women worked in jobs that paid at or below the federal minimum wage, compared to less than 4% of white men. It should come as no surprise that in 2008, women were 35% more likely to live in poverty than men, and in 2010, a Hispanic woman who was a relatively low-wage earner for her ethnic group and sex did not earn enough to bring a family of four above the Federal Poverty Level. However, a white, non-Hispanic man who was a relatively low-wage earner for his racial group and sex earned $34,770 per year, sufficient to bring a family of four well above the poverty line. In one study conducted before the current recession, 20% of African-American women, and 23% of Hispanic women, reported being very worried about having enough food for their families, compared to 10% of white women. In addition, 48% of African-American women, and 42% of Hispanic women, reported not having enough money to pay a bill on time, compared to 26% of white women.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963, mandates that employers pay equal wages to men and women who perform substantially the same work. While the Equal Pay Act has helped to narrow the wage gap between men and women in our workforce, significant disparities remain and must be addressed. To eliminate these continuing disparities, Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD) has introduced S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that have diluted its effectiveness in combating unfair and unequal pay. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has indicated that he will bring the Paycheck Fairness Act before the full Senate for a cloture vote as early as the week of June 4, 2012.
Especially in today’s economy, more women work outside of the home and their paycheck is a necessary part of their households’ resources. Yet all too often women are forced to raise their families on incomes lower than that of male colleagues performing the same jobs.
THE NAACP STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT AND URGES ALL SENATORS TO VOTE FOR CLOTURE AND FOR FINAL PASSAGE OF THIS VITAL LEGISLATION