US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Statement in Honor of the 47th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act

Thursday, June 10, 2010Kate Cyrul / Bergen Kenny (202) 224-3254

Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement in honor of the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963.  Harkin is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen penalties for discrimination, and has introduced the Fair Pay Act, which would require employers to provide equal pay for equivalent jobs and disclose pay scales and rates for all job categories at a given company.  This legislation would give women the information they need to identify and fight discriminatory pay practices.  Harkin is the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

“Nearly half a century after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, far too many women in this country still do not get paid what men do for the exact same work.  On average, women make only 77 cents for each dollar a man makes.  The circumstances are even worse for Latinas and women of color.  Due to this injustice, women lose an estimated $700,000 over the course of their lifetimes due to unequal pay practices.  This inequality means real hardship for women and their families.

“Unfortunately, there are too many loopholes and too many barriers to effective enforcement of existing laws. That is why I strongly support the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill would strengthen penalties for discrimination and give women the tools they need to identify and confront unfair treatment.  I hope that the Senate can pass the bill and send it to the President's desk this year.

“In addition, we must recognize that the problem of unequal pay goes beyond insidious discrimination. To address this more subtle discrimination, I have introduced the Fair Pay Act to ensure that employers provide equal pay for jobs that are equivalent in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

“As we observe this anniversary, we must take the necessary steps to end discrimination.  We can start by closing the pay gap and simply paying women fairly.”

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