Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a press conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. Below are her remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Good morning. Wow – look at all of this red before us. Good morning everyone.
Q: Good morning.
Leader Pelosi. This is very important for us to remember, to celebrate, and to understand how much more needs to be done. I’m particularly happy to be with all of you because I’m probably the only one in the room – maybe a couple others, I won’t identify them – who were alive when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act.
And to prove it, I have – where did they go? Right here. I have some pictures of myself with my parents and President Kennedy in the oval office
Leader Pelosi. Just a couple years before.
And as a teenager, a couple of years before that in Baltimore when President Kennedy visited Baltimore. And so the excitement at the time when he signed the bill was so thrilling but, never could we suspect that at that time, that it would take – fifty years later, we would still be fighting the fight.
And we’re going to hear some very compelling testimony today about what needs to be done. I’m so honored to be here with my colleagues and fighters for women in the workplace, and women in society, and women in our economy. Our leader on that is Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, chair of our Steering and Policy Committee. Brand new Member, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio, a small business woman as well as new Member of Congress. She was a leader in the Ohio Legislature before she came here. Joaquin Castro. I’m so happy he is here. You know why? He has a spectacular mom.
I’m a fan of hers. She accomplished something quite remarkable. And [Congressman] Joaquin [Castro] has made his own mark, but today he’s going to tell us about his mom and her success. Lisa Maatz is here from AAUW. Thank you, Clara Paynter from MomsRising.
I want to acknowledge the Alliance for Justice, the ACLU, the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Jewish Women International, the National Council of Jewish Women and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National’s Women’s Law Center, Ultra Violet, and 9to5, and the voices of the future, which are our beautiful background here.
[Leader Pelosi motions to the babies and young children in the audience]
Thank you all of the women leaders and families – you’re going to hear what those numbers mean today, and all the generations who are here to reaffirm our right to equal pay for equal work.
As we all know, June 10th, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed into law, signed it into law, to seal that most basic principle of equality into the law of the land.
Recognizing that our economy depends on women in workplace, he took what he called, presciently “a first step.” He knew it was a first step to end the “unconscionable practice” – in his words – of paying women less than men for the same amount of work.
But in the course of fifty years loopholes in the Equal Pay Act were carved out and exploited. Disparities among minority women widened.
And the “unconscionable practice” persists.
And so, we’ll hear some statistics about women in the workplace. What you don’t hear, I’ll say at the end, but, we have many very strong voices for women. Equal pay fifty years ago – Equal Pay Act, [Congresswoman] Rosa DeLauro is advancing the Paycheck Fairness Act. We are very proud of her work and George Miller’s on the Lilly Ledbetter [Act] and that was really important. Equal pay, Lilly Ledbetter – but we must have paycheck fairness and we will because of the extraordinary leadership of [Congresswoman] Rosa DeLauro.