Equal Pay Day, April 8, symbolizes the time in 2014 when the wages earned by women "catch up" to the wages earned by men in 2013. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women working full time year round in 2012 earned on average 77 percent of the earnings of their male counterparts. Montana ranks 36th — with an average 76 percent.
As an organization whose mission it is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research, we would like to thank Gov. Steve Bullock for establishing the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force to address pay disparities in Montana workplaces.
We thank Sen. Jon Tester for cosponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377/S.84) and call upon Sen. John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines to do likewise.
In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law, which gives back to employees their day in court to challenge a pay gap, and now we must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would amend the Equal Pay Act by closing loopholes and improving the law's effectiveness. The Paycheck Fairness Act helps to create incentives for employers to follow the law, empowers women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthens federal outreach and enforcement efforts.
The bill would also deter discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages.
Nancy Downing, co-president
and 18 others
American Association of University Women