The Paycheck Fairness Act is a little light — and we have to make it shine. Connecticut’s own US Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the bill last year, but it was ultimately unsuccessful.
The need for something to address the gender pay gap has recently gained national attention. It’s been widely reported in the media that women receive about 77.5 cents on the dollar compared to men. Though I had to go through the Wayback Machine, I was able to confirm this with an official publication at the Census Bureau.
- African American women’s median annual earnings were 64% of the white male median.
- Hispanic women’s median annual earnings were 54% of the white male median.
- All women together make only 77.5% of the median.
That’s a stinging reality for women in this country, but not a new one. As part of society’s recognition of that reality, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) addresses some things that seem tangential at first, but prove to be integral.
The first of these is to ban employment agreements that bar discussing your salary with coworkers. These clauses are currently a hot topic, with a consensus emerging that there really is no non-HR reason not to compare salaries. Being able to compare salaries is of course essential to determining whether or not someone is getting paid more than you.
The PFA actually amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow for the sharing of demographic information with federal officials named in the PFA. It strengthens protections against retaliation, compels the Department of Justice to do things that I don’t understand, and provides training for all of this.
If ever there were a no-brainer, it’s equal pay for women. Any marriage would only be strengthened by it. It’s also just unfair to pay women less — let’s not forget that.
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