It’s Equal Pay Day…

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We are at a tipping point. Women of all ages, races, and ethnicities in our country are being encouraged to lean in and lead whether that be in our communities, our careers, or in our homes. Women and men are performing the same  jobs, yet women are only earning .77 for every $1 that a man earns. It’s 2014. Our lives have changed, but gender-based pay discrimination has not. 

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Today is Equal Pay Day – the day marked each year that symbolizes when a woman working full time earned as much as a man working full time the previous year. So today, understand that a woman holding the same position in the workplace as a man, both required to perform the exact same duties, is making less than her male coworker.

This is maddening.

Our report on the Status of the New Mexico woman found that women heading households make, on average, $10,437 less than men.

The State of Women In America report shows that New Mexican women are making ¢80 for every one dollar a man makes. The wage gap is even larger for women of color in New Mexico. African American women are making ¢62 for every one dollar a man makes, and it is even lower for Hispanic women, who make ¢55 for every one dollar a man makes in New Mexico.


Despite these bleak statistics, there is some good news for women workers in the US.  Progressives in our U.S. Senate will be reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Rachel Maddow Blog gives a brief summary of what the Pay Check Fairness Act will do if passed:

For those who may need a refresher, the bill would “enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity.
The measure would also protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information, which is important for deterring and challenging discriminatory compensation.” 

Just a little reminder on the history of the Pay Check Fairness Act – Republicans killed it in 2010 and in 2012.

The Pay Check Fairness Act isn’t the only plan to address income inequality for women. Just this weekend, President Obama spoke about two Executive Actions he will be signing to address the lack of equal pay for equal work for women in our country:

One action, an executive order, will prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about how much money they make, according to an administration official familiar with the plans.
The other, a presidential memorandum, will require contractors to report data to the government showing the compensation they provide their employees by sex and race.

We have so many women in New Mexico that are the sole providers for their families – and they have to make ends meet with a paycheck that is lower than their male colleagues. Time has come for this to end. It should not be more difficult for a person to get ahead because of their sex. New Mexicans believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have a fair shot at the American dream. This means equal pay for women and men for equal work.