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GUEST COMMENTARY: Equal Pay for Women Remains an Elusive Goal

Opinion from the American Association of University Women – Lake Wales

March 12, 2024 is Equal Pay Day; however, this is no celebration. Despite the Equal Pay Act being introduced more than 60 years ago, gender and racial pay gaps persist.

Women bring enormous value to the U.S. economy but due to systemic sexism and decades of discrimination, women are still paid, on average, just 84 cents for every dollar paid to a man. This gap only worsens when we include women working part-time or seasonally-widening to 78 cents.

A woman must work an additional 2-1/2 months to earn as much as a man made from January 1 to December 31, 2023.

Hence the date of March 12, 2024.

This gender pay gap exists for every age group, in nearly every profession and widens over a woman's lifetime. It follows women throughout their lifetime, making it harder to pay back student loans, save money to buy a house, and plan for retirement. The situation is dramatically more lopsided for most women of color.

Fortunately, we can take action to start to close the pay gap.

Congress should pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. This would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act and help close the gender pay gap. It would also give workers access to the tools they need to challenge discrimination and give employers incentives to comply with the law.

An economy where all women can work with equality, safety, and dignity benefits everyone. We can do this starting with pay equity. The Paycheck Fairness Act would be a solid step in that direction.

The American Association of University Women in Lake Wales Florida, an organization dedicated to advancing gender equity and women's economic security, urges Congress to ensure that all women are fairly and equitable compensated for their work.


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