50 Years of the Equal Pay Act



On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the historic Equal Pay Act. That year postage stamps were 5 cents, a gallon of gas was 30 cents, and women earned 59 cents to a man’s dollar.  Today, prices for postage and gasoline sure have changed dramatically, but women's earnings have not. Women still only earn 77 cents to a man's dollar and the wage gap hasn’t budged a cent for the last decade.  America’s women are worth more and they deserve better!

Show your support for the Paycheck Fairness Act and other pay equity measures! Visit the National Action Center to contact Congress and President Obama, and share information about pay equity with friends, family and colleagues. Visit Hadassah's website, Facebook and Twitter pages for posts that can be promoted to your social networks.  

The Equal Pay Act was one of the first pieces of anti-discrimination legislation, so the act includes loopholes that do not exist in other anti-discriminations laws. The Paycheck Fairness Act would update pay equity regulations by requiring justification for pay disparities between male and female employees doing the same job, and instituting penalties for discrimination similar to those on the basis of race and national origin. Countless workers are unaware that they are receiving unequal pay because they could be fired for discussing wages with colleagues. The Paycheck Fairness Act would also bar retaliation against employees who disclose their own wages to coworkers.

Updated: Urge Congress to Support Pay Equity!

June 10 is the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, and yet for every dollar a man earns, women make only 77 cents—costing the average American woman $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages over a working lifetime.

The U.S. Census Bureau confirmed in 2012 that the gender wage gap has not changed in over a decade. America's women are worth more and they deserve better. Take this opportunity to urge Congress to support pay equity legislation.

The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377 & S. 84) would update pay equity regulations by requiring justification for pay disparities between male and female employees doing the same job, and instituting penalties for discrimination similar to those on the basis of race and national origin. Countless workers are unaware that they are receiving unequal pay because they could be fired for discussing wages with colleagues. The Paycheck Fairness Act would also bar retaliation against employees who disclose their own wages to coworkers.

On January 29, the fourth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) reintroduced his Fair Pay Act legislation (S. 168), which has been proposed in every Congress since 1996. The bill would require employers to provide equal pay for jobs that are equivalent in skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions, and it would require companies to disclose pay scales and rates for all job categories, but not individual employees, at a given company.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision in the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., v. Betty Dukes case, denying Wal-Mart's 1.6 million female employees the opportunity to sue the retail giant collectively for gender-based employment discrimination. Hadassah joined with the National Women's Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union and other coalition partners in submitting an amicus brief in the case, supporting the women's class action. As a legislative remedy to the ruling, members of Congress introduced the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (EEORA). EEORA clarifies and restores employees’ rights to challenge discriminatory employment actions as a group and promotes employers’ adherence to current civil rights laws.

Hadassah, a longtime member of the National Committee on Pay Equity, strongly supports the adoption and strict enforcement of legislation to eliminate employment discrimination, reduce the gender wage gap and ensure better economic security for women.

Click here to thank President Obama for his leadership on pay equity and urge him to issue an executive order barring retaliatory pay secrecy policies for federal contractors.