$18 billion. That’s how much Washington women lose to the wage gap each year. Women of color lose the most. That’s the bad news.
The good news? There’s growing, bipartisan support in the Washington State Legislature to pass groundbreaking equal pay legislation, called the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EHB 1506/SB 5140), in the 2018 legislative session that starts next week!
Here’s the deal: The Equal Pay Opportunity Act will ensure that workers can share their wage or salary information with co-workers without fear of retaliation, like losing their jobs. This is a big deal because the fact is, most people don’t find out they’re being paid less for the same work until they have a water-cooler conversation with a friend at work. The EPOA will also create new protections for women who are tracked into lower paying jobs or unfairly passed over for promotions.
In fact, we just found out that the EPOA will be one of the very first bills to be heard in the Washington State House and Senate next week -- this is huge!
As Washington State Legislators gear up for the 2018 legislative session, we need to remind them that equal and fair pay is a top priority for Washington women, moms, and families during the short legislative session.
Can you send a letter to your elected representatives in Olympia urging their support for the EPOA this session? Just click here, it takes less than a minute to raise your voice in support of equal pay.
As legislators and their staff work in Olympia this week to get ready for next week’s start to the legislative session, we want to make sure they are hearing from constituents like you that equal pay legislation is a top priority this session.
The wage gap adds up for women in Washington. Women make up nearly half of the workforce and earn more college degrees than men. But in Washington, the typical woman working full-time, year-round in 2014 took home only 77¢ to a man’s $1.00. Among Washington women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, Asian women are paid 74 cents, Black women are paid 61 cents, Native women are paid 57 cents, and Latinas are paid 46 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
Opponents of equal pay policies like the Equal Pay Opportunity Act often brush off the wage gap as a myth – or as something that only exists because of the choices women make about jobs. But that is simply not the case. Even when controlling for job type, education, hours worked, etc. economists consistently find that the gap cannot be fully explained away by anything other than discrimination. And that gap occurs across occupations.
Last year, we made incredible progress on closing the wage gap when we passed paid family and medical leave for all, created new accommodation protections for pregnant workers, and expanded investments in affordable childcare programs.
And also, after taking action, please make sure to forward this email to your friends and family so they can take action too!
When we all come together to raise our voices we can make real and meaningful progress. We saw that in 2017, and we can do the same in the year ahead.