Washington, D.C. – Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the announcement that President Obama will take executive actions aimed at closing the wage gap for women. The president will sign an executive order banning retaliation against employees of federal contractors for disclosing or inquiring about their wages. He will also instruct the Department of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit data on compensation paid to employees. While this is a huge victory for the one in five American workers employed by federal contractors, it remains critical that Congress pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would protect employees from retaliation for inquiring about their wages nationwide and bars gender-based pay discrimination:
“We applaud President Obama’s actions to improve the wages and working conditions of women. But the president can only do so much through executive action and the Senate must take the next step and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Women deserve an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work just as much as men do. But women only make 77 cents for every dollar that men make. This disparity is even more abhorrent for African-American women who are paid only 64 cents and Latinas who are paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic men.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would help close this gap by protecting women against gender-based pay discrimination in the same way we already protect people based on their race or ethnicity. Closing the pay gap is a moral imperative for the nation and would give fairer wages to working families, which would help grow our economy overall.
The president’s actions are wins for women, for working families, and our entire economy. It’s now up to Congress to take the next step and expand these protections to all Americans.”
Nancy Zirkin is executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.