President Obama on the Paycheck Fairness Act

On the heels of the Republican filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate, President Obama released this statement:

“This afternoon, Senate Republicans refused to allow an up-or-down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a common-sense piece of legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and give women more tools to fight pay discrimination. It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families.

“Despite the progress that has been made over the years, women continue to earn substantially less than men for performing the same work. My administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right for equal pay for equal work, as we rebuild our economy so that hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and every American gets a fair shot to succeed.”

Mitt Romney has also refused to take a stand on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and today Lilly Ledbetter sent Romney a letter, urging him to stand up to his party and do what’s right. Join Lilly and President Obama for fairness—add your name to the letter now.

By the Numbers: $431,000

The gender wage gap puts women at a career-long disadvantage. In 2011, a typical 25-year-old woman working full-time all year earned $5,000 less than a typical 25-year-old man. In just 10 years, her cumulative lost wages will reach $34,000. If that earnings gap is not corrected, by the age of 65 years, she will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime.

This substantial gap is more than a statistic — it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.

President Obama supports passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress puts to a vote on June 5. This comprehensive and common sense bill updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work.

On a call today, the President talked about the impact of paycheck inequality on American families: “We’ve got to understand this is more than just about fairness.  Women are the breadwinners for a lot of families, and if they’re making less than men do for the same work, families are going to have to get by for less money for childcare and tuition and rent, small businesses have fewer customers.  Everybody suffers.  .”

You can learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act, and check out some e-cards that explain how income inequality affects American families here.

President Obama: Fighting for equal pay

With Congress scheduled to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act today, President Obama talked about why the fight for equal pay is more important than ever:

“Women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. It’s worse for African American women and Latinas. Over the course of her career, a woman with a college degree is going to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who is doing the same work.

“So at a time when we’re in a make-or-break moment for the middle class, Congress has to step up and do its job. If Congress passes the Paycheck Fairness Act, women are going to have access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work. If they don’t, if Congress doesn’t act, then women are still going to have difficulty enforcing and pressing for this basic principle.

“And we’ve got to understand this is more than just about fairness. Women are the breadwinners [with] a lot of families, and if they’re making less than men do for the same work, families are going to have to get by for less money for childcare and tuition and rent, small businesses have fewer customers. Everybody suffers.”

Visit WhiteHouse.gov for more on the Paycheck Fairness Act.