April 20 is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s earnings catch up to men’s from the year before. In honor of this day, I’m joining forces with AAUW and their coalition partners to urge the Senate to quickly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182). And I’m asking you to join us in this fight for pay equity as well. Make sure your senators know that this legislation is important to you by emailing them now. As I said at an AAUW conference last year, giving women the Ledbetter Act without the Paycheck Fairness Act is like giving them the nail without the hammer.
Without the Paycheck Fairness Act, women will continue to be silenced in the workplace, just like I was-prohibited from talking about wages with coworkers without the fear of being fired. This forced silence keeps many women from discovering pay discrimination in the first place. It happened to me for several decades, and it can happen to you, your daughters and granddaughters, your sisters and moms, and your friends. Especially in this economy, the fear of being fired is strong enough to keep women from even broaching the subject.
Now I know that some people will say that with times as tough as they are, we can’t afford to worry about pay discrimination now. But I’m here to tell you that this recession makes pay equity even more important. With women now making up half of the workforce, more and more families are dependent upon a woman’s paycheck to make ends meet. Ensuring that women are paid fairly is critical – now more than ever.
That’s why I continue to fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act. While the legislation that bears my name was signed into law over a year ago, the Paycheck Fairness Act still needs a vote in the Senate. Almost 47 years have passed since the Equal Pay Act was enacted, and I believe it’s past time we make that law live up to its name; Equal Pay Day is a fine time to make that happen.
While my legal battle is long over, I’m still fighting for all the other women and girls out there who deserve equal pay and equal treatment under the law. Please join me and AAUW, and take a moment on Equal Pay Day to urge your senators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Send a picture of yourself along with your message as well, and show them that we are all, together, the faces of pay equity.