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Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representing the 2nd District of Maryland

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Closing the Wage Gap

Jan 14, 2013

Four years ago this month, Congress passed the landmark “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” to strengthen women’s ability to sue for pay discrimination. This was a critical step toward closing the wage gap, but today, women are still earning only about 77 percent of what men make for the same work. Women of color are even worse off, with black women making only 70 cents on the dollar while Hispanic women make only 60 cents.

The disparities exist at all education levels and all occupations. It affects not just women but children and families because two-thirds of women in this country are breadwinners for their households.

Today, for the fourth consecutive Congressional session, I was proud to sign on as an original cosponsor of common sense legislation to end pay disparity. The “Paycheck Fairness Act” ensures that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related.  It prevents employers from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose salary information with their co-workers. And it strengthens the available remedies to bring the equal pay law in line with all other civil rights laws. 

The bill is being championed by Senator Barbara Mikulski in the Senate. Together, I hope that we can pass this legislation and finish the job, standing up for women, children and families.