Equal Pay is the Law

On April 20th, the 110th day of 2010, people across America observed Equal Pay Day, which marked the 110 extra days per year that women in the United States must work in order to earn what men earned in 2009. On average, a woman in America makes 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes. For African American women and Latinas these numbers are even lower. Over the course of her career, the average women can expect to lose $700,000 as a result of wage discrimination. Although 47 years have passed since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, which made equal pay for equal work the law, women in Colorado, and across the country, still face widespread wage discrimination.

Recently, however, the national outcry against gender-based wage discrimination has grown louder and the movement to end unequal pay for equal work is gaining momentum. In 2009, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which increased the statute of limitations in which women who have been the victims of wage discrimination can take legal action against their employers. This has opened the door for women across the nation to take the enforcement of equal pay for equal work into their own hands.

If you are a woman in Colorado and have experienced wage discrimination based on your gender, there are options available to you.

Here’s what others are saying about equal pay for equal work and wage discrimination:

President Barack Obama
Presidential Proclamation: National Equal Pay Day
“A PROCLAMATION: Throughout our Nation’s history, extraordinary women have broken barriers to achieve their dreams and blazed trails so their daughters would not face similar obstacles. Despite decades of progress, pay inequity still hinders women and their families across our country. National Equal Pay Day symbolizes the day when an average American woman’s earnings finally match what an average American man earned in the past year. Today, we renew our commitment to end wage discrimination and celebrate the strength and vibrancy women add to our economy…” Read More

Senator Chris Dodd
Equal Pay for Equal Work
“…Today is Equal Pay Day, the day until which women have to work to make up the earnings they were shorted in 2009 compared to their male colleagues. Frankly, it’s a little embarrassing that the fight for equal pay continues in the year 2010. It’s hard to find anyone who will say, on the record, that women don’t deserve to earn the same as men…” Read More

Senator Tom Harkin
Women Deserve Equal Pay for Equal Work
“…This is wrong and unjust. But, even more, it threatens the economic security of our families. The fact is millions of Americans are dependent on a woman’s pay-check just to get by, put food on the table, pay for child care, and deal with rising health care bills. Two-thirds of mothers bring home at least a quarter of their family’s earnings. In many families, the woman is the sole breadwinner…” Read More

The New York Times
Happy Equal Pay Day By Nancy Folbre
“…Today is Equal Pay Day, designated every April on a Tuesday as a reminder that Tuesday is the day on which women’s wages catch up to men’s wages from the preceding week. On average, female workers have to put in more than six days of paid work to earn what men earn in five…” Read More

Tracking the Wage Gap By Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison
“Equal pay for equal work? Don’t bet on it. President Obama may have made the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the very first act he signed into law as president, but women still earn just 77 cents on the dollar on average, when compared to men. African-American and Hispanic women earn even less. Yes, the number is an old refrain, repeated so often it has little impact. But in 2010, there’s more reason for everyone—women and men—to care about the persistent pay gap than ever before…” Read More

The Denver Post
Closing the wage gap By Linda A. Meric
“…In Colorado, women’s earnings generally exceed the national average by a penny or so. But this is no great cause for celebration – especially in these tough times when every penny counts. As those lost pennies add up, women and their families are being shortchanged thousands of dollars a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime…” Read More

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