The original raison d’etre and mission of this blog was to cover Hillary Clinton’s back in light of the media’s antipathy toward her candidacy and just about anything she does. We extended that mission to include all women – candidates or not – faced with any kind of sexist rancor, misogyny, or violence.
Of course Hillary herself, while victimized, has always been a strong advocate against sexism and misogyny. As she enters what are very probably her final weeks in the Senate during these opening weeks of the 111th Congress, Hillary may strike a blow for all of us. The Lily Ledbetter Law, extending the window within which an employee may take legal action for pay disparity based on gender, is being revived and expected to pass. Hillary is sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act ensuring equal pay for equal work.
Hillary is awesome in the Senate, and we will miss her there sorely. If she were to stay, I have no doubt that we would see the revival and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment as well. I cannot escape the nagging feeling that there is a hidden agenda in the State Department appointment. I hope I am wrong, and I sure hope she succeeds there, but I also hope this was not a ploy to move her out of the Senate where she has done and would continue to do such important work and in huge quantities. She is the best Senator I have ever seen. Godspeed, Hillary. We’ve got your back. We see that you also have ours.
January 8, 2009
Senator Clinton Reintroduces The Paycheck Fairness Act
WASHINGTON, DC –Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today reintroduced her landmark legislation to address the continuing pay gap between women and men. The Paycheck Fairness Act would take critical steps to help empower women to negotiate for equal pay, to create strong incentives for employers to obey the existing laws, and to strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts. Twenty-two senators have joined Senator Clinton as original cosponsors of the legislation. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.
“Every American deserves equal pay for equal work. It is disgraceful that four decades after the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, women in this country still earn only 78 cents on the dollar. The Paycheck Fairness Act is an attempt to right this historic wrong and I am proud to reintroduce it today,” Senator Clinton said.
Women working full time, year-round jobs still make only 78 cents for every dollar made by a man. Women of color fare even worse: African-American women earn only 62 cents, and Latinas only 53 cents, for every $1.00 earned by white men. Studies have shown that this wage disparity will cost women an average of more than $400,000 over a lifetime, a difference in pay that cannot be fully explained by experience, education, or other qualifications. Unequal pay also hurts families. Single women who are heads of households are twice as likely to be in poverty as single fathers. And most families depend on women’s wages to make ends meet, with women’s pay constituting about two-fifths of family income.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would address this reality through a number of needed reforms. The Act would create a training program to help women strengthen their negotiation skills; enforce equal pay laws for federal contractors; and require the Department of Labor to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities by enhancing outreach and training efforts. Also, the bill would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers; and strengthen the remedies available under the Act to include compensatory and punitive damages.
Senator Clinton has long been a champion of securing equal pay for equal work. In addition to introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, Senator Clinton joined with Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), as well as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study the role that the federal government has and can play in remedying pay inequities in the workplace. In September, the GAO issued a highly critical report finding that federal agencies had been doing an inadequate job at enforcing and monitoring their enforcement of the equal pay laws. In 2006, Senator Clinton co-hosted a “Pay Equity for Women” seminar with Stony Brook University that drew hundreds of students as well as leading educators and experts in gender equity business issues. At the seminar, Senator Clinton unveiled a resource guide titled, “Know What to Ask & Know Your Rights: A Pay Equity Guide on How to Help Yourself in the Workplace.” The guide is an informative tool for young women entering the workforce and can be found on Senator Clinton’s web site: here.