JUNE 2012


In This Issue
Paycheck Fairness Act
Fast Facts
Useful Links

"Forty nine years after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, women earn 23 percent less than a man makes. When women get a mortgage, we don't get a 23 percent discount. When we go to buy food, we don't get a 23 percent discount. When we go to pay our utility bills, they don't say you're paid less; we're going to give you a discount."

Sen. Barbara Mikulski

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It's Time to Close the Wage Gap


On June 10, 1963, at a time when women in our country made 59 cents for every dollar a man made, the United States Congress passed the Equal Pay Act. As we approach the 49th anniversary of that landmark legislation, we see that the pay gap is just as real today as it was then. Women across our country make just 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes with the same education doing the same job. That’s twenty-three percent less. But do women get a twenty-three percent discount at the grocery store? No. Do we get twenty-three percent off at the doctor’s office? No.

That’s why I reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act. My Democratic colleagues and I wanted to ensure that we close the loopholes that have kept the Pay Equity Act from achieving its promise of equal pay.

But this week, Senate Republicans voted on a strict party line to filibuster the Paycheck Fairness Act. It was a sad day in the U.S. Senate, but it’s even sadder every payday when women continue to receive less in their paycheck than men do. And although we lost the vote this week, we are not going to give up the fight.

In 2009, we fought to keep the courthouse doors open with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, changing the statute of limitations and enabling employees to take legal action in cases of discriminatory pay. It was an important down-payment on ending the pay gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes that allow pay discrimination to happen in the first place. With the Paycheck Fairness Act, employers would no longer be able to retaliate against workers for sharing information about wages. No longer would women be able to seek only back pay. Under this bill, they can also seek punitive damages for pay discrimination. No longer would employers be able to use almost any reason and make up any excuse for unjust pay practices. No longer would women be on their own fighting discrimination.

Why does it matter? The wage gap has consequences that last a lifetime. Think of a college graduate who starts working at 22 and works until she is 62. By the time she retires, there will be a $434,000 income gap. This is about supporting women, men and their families. The wage gap makes it harder for working moms to provide for their families, makes it more difficult to own a home and means there will be less in Social Security and retirement savings. This is the true cost of being a woman.

I believe that in this country, if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll get ahead. In the 49 years since Congress passed legislation calling for equal pay for equal work, women have made an 18 cent gain. That’s not rewarding hard work and playing by the rules.

While John Adams and all the guys were in Philadelphia writing the U.S. Constitution, his wife Abigail wrote him a letter that said, ‘Do not forget the ladies or they will foment a revolution of their own.’ Well, they did forget the ladies. And the ladies did foment a revolution of their own. It was called the suffrage movement. It took 150 years for women to secure the right to vote.

And now they’ve forgotten the ladies again by not getting rid of the loopholes in the Equal Pay Act that are making it hard to end pay discrimination. American women can’t wait another 49 years. It’s time to close the loopholes and level the playing field.

So, I say to the women of America, let’s keep this fight going. Put on your lipstick, square your shoulders, suit up and let’s fight for this new American Revolution where women get equal pay for equal work. Let’s end wage discrimination in this century once and for all.


Useful Links
Mikulski Speaks Out on Senate Floor Urging Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act
Mikulski Fights for Equal Pay for Equal Work
Mikulski Joins MSNBC to Discuss Paycheck Fairness Act
Republicans can't hide from Senate's failure to address paycheck fairness law and efforts to protect working women from discrimination
Mikulski, Senate Democrats and Advocacy Groups Urge Senate Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act
Mikulski, Women Advocates Speak on Senate Republican Filibuster of Paycheck Fairness Act
Senator Mikulski Urges Senate to Pass Paycheck Fairness Act

 Paycheck Fairness Act June 2012


What Would Closing the Pay Gap Mean to You This Year?
Closing the Pay Gap of $10,784 Would Allow Families to Buy:

Four months’ supply of groceries $2,447
Five months’ child care $2,958
Three months’ rent and utilities $2,424
Five months’ health insurance premiums $1,550
Four months’ student loan payments $1,117
Five tanks of gas $287

In Maryland

Pay Gap: 82.7%
Women's Contribution to Family Income: 41.4%

Closing the Pay Gap Would Allow Families to Buy:
154 tanks of gas
90 weeks of groceries

 Fast Facts

On average, a woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns
Over 6.4 million households are headed by single working mothers
A woman will earn $434,000 less than a male colleague during a 40-year career
A woman would have to work more than eleven and a half years longer to make up this gap
A woman can be fired simply for asking a colleague what they earn
Pay inequity reduces a woman's Social Security, pension and retirement benefits
Without congressional action, women will not achieve pay equity with men until 2056