Wednesday, January 29th, is the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act being signed into law in 2009. This was a huge step and accomplishment – a huge step in women actually being able to address pay discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, this hasn’t solved the problem. A woman today still makes .81 cents for every $1 a man makes doing the same work.
This isn’t just about equality and fairness for women – although it is absolutely about that. 40% of households with children have a female as the breadwinner. When we aren’t paying women fairly, we are hurting entire families. This isn’t just a women’s issue – this is a family issue.
This is more than just a political issue for me – it is personal. I know what it feels like to find out that male colleagues are making more money for, in my case, less work. I know what it feels like to be told they are making more because they have to care for families, and pay a mortgage.
It is something that still happens everyday to too many women. It is something that happens everyday to women at all levels of employment. And it is something that happens everyday at companies large and small.
70% of women say being paid less then male counterparts is a problem in the workplace. If you are African American or Latina, the problem is even worse. For African American women, the wage gap stands at .64 cents to the dollar of white men, and for Latina’s it is .55 cents to the dollar.
This has gone on too long and has to end. If we want American families to have a chance at the American Dream – if we want mothers to be able to leave their children better off than they were – then we need to pay them fairly.
On this anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, I celebrate that wage discrimination can now be challenged and addressed. And on this anniversary, I commit myself to making sure that wage discrimination stops.
Elisabeth Jensen, as Executive Director of the Race for Education in Lexington and with deep experience in the business community, brings the tools and experience needed to get the economy and government working again. She is running for Congress to seek common sense, bi-partisan solutions to the challenges facing our country.