**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
April 12, 2011
FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE EQUAL PAY ACT BECAME LAW, AMERICAN WOMEN ON AVERAGE EARN ONLY 77 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR EARNED BY THEIR MALE PEERS
April 12, 2011 is Equal Pay Day
“Today, many families rely on women's earnings, and the gender wage gap is a still a serious threat to all within this country. Statistics show that nearly 4 in 10 mothers are primary breadwinners for their families, and almost two thirds are primary or co-breadwinners.
Also, married mothers earn only 69 cents for every dollar compared to their male counterparts, and single mothers earn 58 cents for every dollar earned by married men with children. And the wage gap is most severe for women of color. In one year, the average black woman earns approximately $12,000 less, than the average white man does. For Latina women, the figure is $17,837 less.
The fight for pay equity is a battle taking place on the federal, state, and city levels.
In 2010, I introduced a resolution into the City Council calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign into law the Paycheck Fairness Act. In October of last year, I wrote a letter to Senator Tom Harkin (Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), as well as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Rose DeLauro, and President Barack Obama, requesting that the legislation be passed. Unfortunately, it became clear in November 2010 that the Senate would fail in moving forward with the bill. However, President Barack Obama said in March 2011 that he will continue to fight for the goals in the Paycheck Fairness Act.
New York State is currently in the process of reviewing similar legislation— the New York State Fair Pay Act. The bill would make it an unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, and/or national origin through paying different wages to employees. Yesterday, this bill passed the State Assembly, and is currently in the New York State Senate.
I am working to create legislation on the citywide level that addresses the issue of pay equity. My efforts began with the help of New York Women’s Agenda in 2009. Although much authority to legislate wage issues lies with the State, I am confident that the New York City Council could pass legislation that eliminates wage-based discrimination, and secures pay equity for women throughout the City.
On this Equal Pay Day working women should know that their government supports them and fights for them against wage-based discrimination. Go to the link below to learn more. Lastly, please share with someone special that today, April 12, is Equal Pay Day.”
- Council Member Letitia James, 35th Council District, Brooklyn.