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Same Job? Same Pay. It’s That Simple.

March 12 is Women’s Equal Pay Day – and it’s how far into 2024 a woman has to work to earn the same money a man did by the end of 2023 when they both started counting on New Year’s Day 2023.
(L-R) Pennsylvania State Representatives Donna Bullock, Jennifer O’Mara, and Melissa Shusterman

Written by PA State Representatives Donna Bullock, Jennifer O’Mara, and Melissa Shusterman

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” – The Declaration of Independence

Two hundred and forty-eight years after those words were written, equality in America is still an illusion in so many ways – most notably on payday.

Sixty-one years after the federal government passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women in America are still left behind on payday – even after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 tried to make things more equitable, we’re still fighting for a simple issue of fairness for all women.

It’s hard to imagine that in 2024 in the richest nation in the history of the world a woman only gets paid 84 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and it’s time to fix this problem once and for all.

March 12 is Women’s Equal Pay Day – and it’s how far into 2024 a woman has to work to earn the same money a man did by the end of 2023 when they both started counting on New Year’s Day 2023.

If you think that’s bad – and it is – Black Women’s Equal Pay Day isn’t until July 9 for the 69 cents a Black woman earns compared to the average man. Mom’s Equal Pay Day? August 7. Latina Equal Pay Day? October 3.

It’s bad for women, bad for families, and bad for our economy because these women don’t have the money to spend in their communities.

This pay gap impacts women right now with reduced earnings, but the pay gap follows women for the rest of their lives. Women will have lower Social Security benefits – with a longer average lifespan – so the gap gets even bigger.

Sure, things have gotten better, but at this rate we’re looking at roughly the year 2090 until the pay gap is closed once and for all.

READ: The Radical History of International Women’s Day

Now, you might be thinking it all comes down to men working more dangerous jobs than women which have higher pay scales, but the pay gap is a reality across all professions. A recent study by the American Association of University Women compared 114 different occupations nationwide that employ at least 50,000 men and 50,000 women.

In 107 of those occupations the pay scale favored the men – even in positions where a worker’s gender was utterly meaningless like surgeon, accountant, or attorney.

As state lawmakers we’re fortunate. Our pay scale is set by law, not by gender. But you shouldn’t have to get your name on the ballot to get a fair deal on payday.

That’s why we’re the sponsors of the Pennsylvania Fair Pay for All Act – this bill addresses the pay gap and makes sure workers are paid the same wage for the same job.

Our bill, House Bill 98, would ban employers from discriminating against workers and paying them less based on their gender, race, or ethnicity. The bill would come down hard on employers cheating workers by paying them less and would create a state commission to investigate pay disparity.

It’s about fairness. It’s about equality. It’s about justice – justice for all. What America is supposed to be all about.

The bill is moving through the legislature right now – please, contact your lawmaker and ask them to support House Bill 98, the Fair Pay for All Act, because it’s time to embrace one simple fact: “We, the People” means all the people.

Let’s close the gap!

Donna Bullock represents the 195th Legislative District in Philadelphia and is majority chair of the House Children & Youth Committee and the House Ethics Committee. Jennifer O’Mara represents the 165th District in Delaware County and is chair of the House Southeastern Delegation. Melissa Shusterman represents the 157th District in Chester County.

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