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Today is Equal Pay Day – the day we mark on the calendar each year to represent how long a woman would have to work into the next year to make the same amount a man made in the previous year.
We have made progress and the pay gap has narrowed slowly, but too many women in Oregon and across the country continue to earn less then men. In Oregon, women make approximately 79 cents to every dollar a man earns. And even though both state and federal law prohibit employers from paying men and women doing the same job differently solely because of their gender, it’s still not a reality.
Ensuring pay equity and equal pay for equal work is a matter of basic fairness and economic security. This is especially important because women are the primary source of income in many families.
Last year, President Obama took an important step toward closing the gender pay gap by signing an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss pay. Removing prohibitions against discussing pay makes it easier for employees to learn whether they are being paid equitably and demand what they deserve.
In Congress I will continue to advocate for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. This important legislation will help close the gap by extending the wage transparency and anti-retaliation protections to all workers in the United States. It will also require employers to prove a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for paying a woman less.
Thank you for standing with me for equity.