AAUW: Urge Senators to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

Friday, Jan. 29 marked the one year anniversary of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. As the first piece of legislation signed into law by the new president, it was a proud moment for American Association of University Women (AAUW) Action Network members—a reward for all the emails sent, calls made, and visits paid to your members of Congress. Together with the House passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, we felt we were on the road to fair pay.

But a year later, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the essential companion legislation to the Ledbetter bill, remains stalled in the Senate. What a difference a year almost made for women and their families. But there is good news: thanks to your efforts, the Senate leadership just announced that a Senate committee hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act will be scheduled in the next few months! This is the next critical step toward getting the bill to the floor for a vote. Even if you have taken action on this issue before, we need your voice now! Urge your senators to cosponsor and move to quickly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182).

As Lilly said a year ago, passing the Ledbetter bill without passing the Paycheck Fairness Act is like giving someone a nail but not a hammer. And data released by U.S. Census Bureau showed that, in 2008, women continued to earn just 77 cents for each dollar earned by her male counterpart.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, a much needed update of the 46-year-old Equal Pay Act, is a comprehensive bill that would create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach, education and enforcement efforts. The bill would also deter wage discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who ask about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages-provisions that would have helped Lilly. In short, the bill updates the law to reflect the practices and processes under more recent civil rights laws.

When the House passed both the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act a year ago, they demonstrated a firm, bipartisan resolve to attack wage discrimination on all fronts. Now, a year later, it’s past time that the Senate does the same.

Take Action!

To urge your senators to quickly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, simply enter your zip code and click “Go!” Then follow the instructions to compose and send your message.

See what the wage gap is in your state. Learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act, and read Lilly Ledbetter’s letter supporting the bill. Find out more about what you can do to mark Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, April 20.