Without Equal Pay, Entire Families Suffer
Imagine waiting nearly 100 days into the year to celebrate New Year’s Day. April 8th is Equal Pay Day – which is how long some women must work into 2014, on top of what they worked in 2013, to earn salaries that equally qualified men earned last year.
This issue isn’t just harming individuals – entire families suffer under unequal pay.
Because on average women are still making 77% of what men make. That alone is an unthinkable act of inequality against American workers. Why must women work more than three months to break even with equally qualified male counterparts?
The pay gap becomes even wider when you consider that African-American women earn only 70 cents for every dollar a man earns. It drops to 64 cents when compared to white, non-Hispanic men. Latinas can expect to earn only 55 cents in comparison.
Income inequality is one of the most important issues that must be tackled in America. It is important that all workers are not discriminated against on the basis of gender or race. It's an issue that affects not just women, but people of color, spouses, partners, children, and families.
Although the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act introduced protection and a way for women to act against pay discrimination at the federal level, state laws are also necessary to provide protection in more affordable state courts. This is why all but five states have adopted some form of their own equal pay law. Yet Texas is one of those 5 states that do not have such a law in place.
Last year, Senator Wendy Davis and Rep. Senfronia Thompson passed the Texas Equal Pay Act in the Texas Legislature. Then, at Macy’s urging, Governor Rick Perry vetoed the law - and Greg Abbott's campaign has said he would also veto an Equal Pay Act. This is unacceptable, but also not surprising: Female employees are paid less than male employees at the attorney general’s office.
It is without question that legislators have their work cut out for them as they fight for equal pay in Texas. Now is the time to let them know that we support their efforts toward creating a fairer workplace for Texans.