by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment,
National Women's Law Center
I had the pleasure of attending the White House Middle Class Task Force event, where the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force presented its recommendation to help close the wage gap (which, if you read this blog you know stands at 77 cents on the dollar and is even worse for women of color). The Task Force announced that it would engage in additional data collection, public education, and coordination among the key agencies to enhance enforcement of the nation's laws against pay discrimination. The federal government would also work to become a model employer, addressing wage disparities within the federal workforce.
The final recommendation of the Taskforce, reinforced strongly by both Vice President Biden and President Obama, was to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The House passed the Act in January 2009 and as Vice President Biden put it—it's time for the Senate to "get on with it." The Paycheck Fairness Act is a commonsense bill that provides additional tools for enforcing the pay discrimination laws and ensures that women who prove their case are compensated fairly. The bill has 40 Senate co-sponsors and recent polling demonstrates that the public strongly supports the Act. In other words, this bill is a no-brainer. So in the end, as the Vice President emphasized, the real question is whether this Congress will be on the right side of history and on the side of families.
It's time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.