Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today on Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year:
“This weekend, we cheered on Danica Patrick when she made history as the first woman to take home first prize winnings from an Indy Car race. And last year, for the first time in history, Wimbledon awarded equal prize money for its prestigious men and women's tennis tournaments.
“But a few breakthroughs for women in the world of sports are not nearly enough to rectify an inequity that puts women at severe economic risk.
“On Equal Pay Day, we commemorate the point in the year it takes a woman to make the same amount of money made by a man in the previous year. Women make 77 cents to each man's dollar. African American women earn just 63 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic American women fare worse, at 52 cents. As women grow older, the wage gap widens: women aged 45 to 64, who preparing for retirement, earn only 71 percent of what men do. At the rate this gap has been closing over time, the Institute for Women's Policy Research estimates equity will not be achieved until 2057. We do not have the time to wait.
“Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on whether to take up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which the House proudly passed last year. This critical legislation provides a remedy for women and men who have been victims of pay discrimination.
“As families grapple with an uncertain economy, equal pay for equal work is about daily survival for millions. The unemployment rate for women workers has increased more rapidly than for men. Women are more likely to have subprime mortgages and be affected by the foreclosure crisis. Many low-wage women workers are the sole source of support for their families and closing the pay disparity could strengthen their households.
“Making history is critical for women, but so is making ends meet. Working women and their families do not need any more obstacles in that effort. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”