'In the United States of America, Dads Get Wage Boosts and Moms Get Pay Cuts,' Moms Leader Testifies, Urging Congress to Quickly Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act
“At MomsRising, we regularly hear from women experiencing unfair pay, who fear retaliation in their workplaces and therefore can’t speak up, and who need the protections the Paycheck Fairness Act would provide: freedom from retaliation; making it easier to collectively challenge pay discrimination; an end to the use of prior salary histories to set current salaries; and the additional protections that would finally move us closer to pay parity. Laura is one such woman…
Laura and her husband got jobs at the same agency in the exact same position. However, she was paid $5,000 less than he was. When Laura asked about the discrepancy, she was told to accept the pay or they would give the job to someone else. Laura’s not alone. Unfair pay and the fear of losing the wages you depend on in retaliation for speaking out is much too common. That’s why not only directly prohibiting retaliation but also advancing automatic inclusion in class action lawsuits is so important. To put it simply: There’s strength in numbers and many women can’t speak out if being the only one to do so puts their job at risk. But they can be part of a class action. For lower-wage women workers, automatic inclusion in class action lawsuits is vitally important.
“For Laura, being paid $5,000 less a year because she’s a woman is a $50,000 loss over ten years. She also loses retirement income and risks being overlooked for promotions she deserves.
“The Paycheck Fairness Act is about the women of America, our families, our economy, and our children’s future. Our country has changed, but our public policies haven’t kept up. Women and moms are in the labor force to stay. Our families need our wages to make ends meet and to survive economically. Yet women are experiencing unfair pay every day, with moms and women of color experiencing the highest levels of wage and hiring discrimination.
“In the United States, dads get wage boosts and moms get pay cuts. Being a mom is now a greater predictor of wage and hiring discrimination than being a woman. Our country, which claims to love, adore, and respect motherhood, pays women with children just 71 cents to every dollar it pays to dads. It’s even worse for moms of color: Latina mothers are paid just 46 cents; Native mothers just 49 cents; Black mothers just 54 cents; white, non-Hispanic mothers 69 cents; and Asian/Pacific Islander mothers just 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers.
“Unfair pay causes grave and lasting harm to those who are in low-income jobs in particular. In our country today, too many women and moms are working hard, being paid unfairly, surviving paycheck to paycheck, and falling into poverty as they struggle to raise their families.
“Unfair pay also stems from the fact that we lag behind when it comes to access to paid family and medical leave for people of all genders, access to affordable childcare, earned sick days, a living minimum wage that also covers tipped workers, and other economic security measures. These are structural problems that we can and must solve together. It’s time to stop treating women unfairly. It’s time for women to be able to join together, to be able to share information, and to demand that current pay not be set by past pay, without fear of retaliation. It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. America needs it!”
NOTE: Read Rowe-Finkbeiner's Full Testimony here.