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Thursday, 28 January 2016 00:00

Businesses Call for More Progress on Gender Pay Gap to Improve Overall Economy

Written by Bob Keener | American Sustainable Business Council

Tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was designed to help ensure that women earn equal pay relative to men for doing the same work. Currently, median hourly pay for women is only 82.9 percent of the median wage for men ($15.21 versus $18.35).

While this represents an improvement from the 77 percent differential in 2009, when the bill was passed, at its present rate of change, one estimate found that women won’t receive equal pay until 2059.

Richard Eidlin, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns for the American Sustainable Business Council, released this statement:

“Unequal pay for women hurts America’s chances for economic prosperity. By one estimate, if all women earned the same as men for doing the same work, we’d see a total income gain of $450 billion. That would be a huge shot in the arm for businesses across the country, creating more jobs and giving more people the chance to save for retirement, send their kids to college, and participate more fully in the economy.

“Smart business owners know the gender gap in pay isn’t good for the bottom line. Poorly paid employees are, at best, less productive, and at worst, leave their jobs – which forces employers to spend capital training new staff. To ensure that women’s economic security becomes a reality, we need to strengthen laws against discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotion and enact pro-growth policies, like paid family leave and a higher federal minimum wage.

“Equal pay for equal work is the way the economy should work. While some progress has been made, women are still paid less than men, are more likely to hold low wage jobs, and to live in poverty at higher rates. This situation exists to an even greater degree for women of color. Today’s anniversary is a reminder of the need for greater policy attention to wage parity, and how far we still have to go.”

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