WASHINGTON, D.C. – As we mark Equal Pay Day on March 24, Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) said that more needs to be done to close the wage gap that still exists between men and women – including passage of the critical Paycheck Fairness Act. Each year, Equal Pay Day symbolizes when, almost three months into the year, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year.
“Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue; it’s an anti-poverty issue,” Rep. Adams said. “As the child of a single mother, I’ve personally experienced how the wage gap affects our families and creates child poverty. My mother was a domestic worker. She cleaned other people’s homes so I wouldn’t have to – so I could focus on going to school and getting an education. Day in and day out, I saw that no matter how hard she worked, her earnings were barely enough to get us by. When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families – groceries, rent, child care, and doctors’ visits. Two-thirds of mothers are either the primary breadwinner or a co-breadwinner in the household, so their earnings are vital to their families.”
Fifty-eight years after the 1963 Equal Pay Act was enacted, the latest data show that nationwide full-time working women still earn only 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, amounting to a yearly gender gap of $10,157 between full-time working men and women. Furthermore, the wage gap is even larger for women of color – with, on average, Black women earning just 63 cents, Native American women just 60 cents and Latinas just 55 cents for every collar a white, non-Hispanic man earns. Approximately 80,000 women in the 12thCongressional District make only $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage.
“The 1963 Equal Pay Act has too many loopholes and has not been effective in ensuring equal pay,” Rep. Adams pointed out. “That is why I strongly support the important Paycheck Fairness Act, which House Democrats are moving forward in committee today. This bill modernizes and strengthens the Equal Pay Act. It bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages, provides effective remedies for women who are not given equal pay for equal work, and requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.”
Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph. D. represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County) and serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. Additionally, she serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee.