Ohioans work hard, and I believe their hard work deserves fair pay, regardless of gender. But today in Ohio, women earn just 85 cents to every dollar a man makes. According to the Joint Economic Committee, that earnings gap means over the course of their working lives, women lose more than $400,000.

That’s unconscionable.

Nearly fifty years ago, Congress passed and President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, making it illegal for employers to pay men and women different wages for the same work. But since then, women have made only minor gains against the salaries earned by men for performing the same work.

I believe that equal pay for an equal day’s work should be an American right. Without congressional action, women will not achieve pay parity with men until 2056. And so, if the pay gap continues, women will never be able to catch up. A lower salary starting at hire doesn’t just mean a smaller paycheck—it means a smaller pension, a diminished 401K, and smaller Social Security check benefits. The discrimination that begins at hire continues for life. There’s nothing fair about that.

That’s why I won’t give up fighting for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would shore up the Equal Pay Act and create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law while helping women fight pay discrimination when it does occur.

As a father of daughters and as a husband, I know that this pay gap devalues women’s work. And it discourages economic growth—because women make up more than 46 percent of today’s workforce.

The pay gap doesn’t affect just women, it also affects their families. Addressing the gender pay gap is a crucial step toward getting our economy back on track.

With 33 percent of married mothers in Ohio serving as their families’ primary wage earner, and more than 6.3 million working single mothers heading families across the United States, it is urgent that women earn the pay they deserve. Our economy works better when women can negotiate fairly and when women are paid what they’re worth.

Unfortunately, 46 Senators—all in the minority—voted against bringing Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor for a vote.

Ohio women are hard working. Many get up early, stand on their feet all day, then head home and take care of their children—and they don’t ask for a handout. They don’t ask for a bailout.

But they do ask for equal pay.

They ask that we act now, that we continue the fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act—for women everywhere, and for our mothers, our daughters and our families. It’s these women that I will think about as we continue to fight together for equality and for the Paycheck Fairness Act.