Legislators and Leaders from Across the Country Join Together for National “Equal Pay Can’t Wait” Week of Action
DENVER – On the 7th anniversary of President Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, more than 20 state legislators advanced Equal Pay legislation in states around the country as part of “Equal Pay Can’t Wait” – a national effort coordinated by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and partners. Equal Pay Can’t Wait is a national week of action aimed at raising awareness and ensuring that women are paid equally for doing the same work as men. In her latest piece, the Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis digs into the Equal Pay Can’t Wait effort as well as the steps different states are taking to combat the lingering gender pay gap. Read DePillis’ piece here.
In recent years, progress on closing the gender pay gap has stalled and even in 2016, women only make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. For women of color, the gap is much greater, with African-American women making 60 cents and Latinas only 55 cents per each dollar made by white men. As more and more states take action to close the gender pay gap, momentum is building for a national solution to ensure women are paid the same as men for the same work. In a recent op-ed in USA Today, Lilly Ledbetter herself applauds the coordinated state effort and calls on Congress to build on this momentum and “take the next steps in our long march towards equal pay for equal work.”
“The leadership of state legislators on equal pay has been inspiring to watch,” said SiX Executive Director Nick Rathod. “Our team at SiX has worked with dozens of legislators who are moving bills this week to tackle the pay gap from a variety of different policy angles. This is an issue that is holding back too many families. It affects our entire economy and it’s another sign that in spite of congressional gridlock, states are taking the lead on the issues that most affect the day-to-day lives of millions of Americans.”
Added New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg: “In 2016, women in New Jersey and across the country still earn less than men for the same work. This is unacceptable. If we continue at our current pace, it will take decades to achieve pay equity in New Jersey and more than 100 years to reach this point as a country. We must take action for our residents who are working hard to make ends meet. We also have to do this for our daughters and granddaughters, to make sure they grow up knowing that their work is just as valuable as their male counterparts’ and under policies that treat them equally. I am introducing legislation to close the wage gap in New Jersey that will be taken up in our new legislative session. Equal pay can’t wait.”
Arizona State Senator Katie Hobbs agreed: “We know that two out of every three women today are the sole or equal breadwinner in their families, yet they still do not have access to equal pay for equal work. In Arizona, this pay gap is 84 cents to every dollar a man makes. It is more significant for women of color. Equal pay is already the law, we just want to make sure it is enforced. Raising the pay for women in Arizona will strengthen the economy for everyone.”
SiX was joined by dozens of national and state partners, who helped this first-of-its-kind effort take hold in so many states this week. Key partners included the National Women’s Law Center, the American Association of University Women, the National Partnership for Women and Families, Make It Work, and Moms Rising.
“Women are not worth less, and no one can afford a wage gap in 2016. Luckily, the momentum for equal pay that Lilly Ledbetter helped unleash is rolling across the country, and the states are leading the way in enacting comprehensive and robust protections against sex discrimination, which will help close the wage gap once and for all,” said Emily J. Martin, General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center.
“AAUW members have grown increasingly impatient with the partisan logjam in Congress. While we won’t stop leading efforts to pass much-needed federal equal pay legislation, it’s time to take this fight to the states, too,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at the American Association of University Women. “Our state leaders are in the thick of things in an impressive number of state legislatures considering critical equal pay measures. These bills are gaining traction because closing the gender pay gap isn’t simply the right thing to do, it’s a smart move to strengthen state economies.”
Lydia DePillis’ full piece, “Legislators organize blitz of equal pay legislation in nearly half the states” is available here.
Lilly Ledbetter’s full op-ed, “Time to end the wage gap for women,” is available here.
As part of the Equal Pay Can’t Wait week of action, state legislators from around the country are introducing bills, hosting press conferences, submitting resolutions, and engaging their constituents on equal pay. See below for a list of state legislators introducing equal pay legislation.
BILL SPONSOR: Sen. Katie Hobbs, Celeste Plumlee
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Jessie Danielson, Rep. Brittany Pettersen, Rep. Faith Winter, Rep. Joe Salazar, Rep. Janet Buckner
BILL NAME: HB 16-1001
WHEN: Thursday, January 28th, 12 pm
WHERE: Colorado State Capitol, West Foyer
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Marti Anderson, Senator Pam Jochum
WHEN: Friday, January 29th, 10 am
WHERE: Iowa State Capitol; 1007 E Grand Ave Des Moines, IA 50319; Room 116
PRESS CONTACT: Monica Biddix; 515-661-4586
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. John Wilson, Rep. Barbara Ballard
BILL NAME: HB2320
BILL SPONSOR: Sen. Karen Carter Peterson
BILL SPONSORS: Senators Susan Lee, Jamie Raskin; Delegates Kris Valderrama, Chairman Dereck Davis
BILL NAME: SB0424
WHEN: Thursday, January 28th, 11:30 am ET
WHERE: Prince George’s County Delegation Room (Room 150), House Office Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis
PRESS CONTACT: Adisa Muse; 804-721-5011; firstname.lastname@example.org
BILL SPONSOR: Rep. Jay Livingstone
BILL NAME: S.983
BILL SPONSOR: Sen. Loretta Weinberg
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Jason Dunnington, Rep. Emily Virgin
WHEN: Wednesday, January 27th, 10:30 am
WHERE: State Capitol Building, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City
CONTACT: Rep. Jason Dunnington, 405-593-8582
BILL SPONSOR: Sen. Gayle Goldin
BILL SPONSOR: Sen. Jani Iwamoto
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Jill Krowinski, Rep. Helen Head
BILL NAME: H-99
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Tana Senn, Sen. Annette Cleveland
BILL NAME: HB 1646
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Barbara Fleishcauer; Delegate Erikka Storch
BILL NAME: Equal Pay Act of 2016
WHEN: Thursday, January 28th, 10:30 am
WHERE: New McManus Conference Room (M-252), State Capitol, Charleston, WV
PRESS CONTACT: Del. Barbara Evans Fleischauer, 304-319-2423; Del. Erikka Storch, 304-340-3378
BILL SPONSORS: Rep. Chris Sinicki, Sen. Dave Hansen
BILL NAME: SB-145