WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would close loopholes that allow pay discrimination based on gender. Brown pointed to a new report released today showing that each year of unequal wages costs Ohio women more than $16 billion in lost income. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, women who are employed full time in Ohio are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $10,430 for an Ohio woman employed fulltime.
“It’s simple: equal work deserves equal pay. But today in Ohio, women working fulltime earn only 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man, which leads to a staggering gap of $16 billion every year,” Brown said. “The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the ability of women to fight for equal pay, provide for their families and children, and also contribute to our state and local economies.”
The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families based on U.S. Census Bureau data, and concludes that if the gap between men’s and women’s wages in Ohio were eliminated, Ohio women working fulltime could buy groceries for 1.7 more years; pay mortgage and utilities for eight more months; pay rent for 15 more months, or purchase 2,800 more gallons of gas.
Details from the analysis on Ohio’s wage gap can be found here, and an analysis of the gap for African American women in the state can be found here. The National Partnership also analyzed the wage gap in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, which includes the Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus areas.
- Women in the Cleveland area are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men in the area, amounting to a yearly gap of $11,203 between men and women who work full time.
- Women in the Cincinnati area are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men in the area, amounting to a yearly gap of $10,134 between men and women who work full time.
- Women in the Columbus area are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to men in the area, amounting to a yearly gap of $9,261 between men and women who work full time.
Women nationally are also paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men with African American women (64 cents) and Latina women (55 cents) faring worse for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. It is estimated that at the rate that the wage gap is closing, women will not be paid equally for more than four decades.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help women fight wage discrimination by:
- Disallowing employers from retaliating against workers who, with their colleagues, discuss salaries;
- Making gender-based discrimination as equal to other forms of wage discrimination, and allowing women to take legal action for damages;
- Requiring employers to prove that pay differences exist for legitimate reasons such as education, training, and experience;
- Creating a negotiation skills training program for women and girls;
- Establishes the Secretary of Labor's National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women;
- Providing small businesses and other businesses assistance with equal pay practices; and
- Enhancing the ability of the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws.