Today marks Equal Pay Day in America, symbolizing the average time in a year a woman has to work in 2012 to earn what the average man earned in 2011. To mark the day, elected officials on the state and national level have issued a bevy of statements.
First up is a statement from the Obama re-elect:
“The first piece of legislation President Obama signed after taking office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which strengthens women’s ability to enforce their right to equal pay. Through his actions as President, he has demonstrated his commitment to women’s economic security- from making it easier for women to receive equal pay for equal work, to ensuring women won’t pay more than men for their health care and supporting women-owned small businesses through increased access to capital and new access to federal contracting programs.
“Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has offered women little beyond lip service, distorted claims about the President’s record on women’s issues, and deep cuts in investments to the middle class. Yesterday, he again refused to say whether he would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act into law, raising questions about why he feels the need to parse his words on a law that is so fundamental to the economic security not only of women, but also their families. Equal pay for equal work is at the heart of growing the middle class and it is a concept that we can’t afford to turn our backs on.”
And here’s a statement from Democratic State Rep. Mark Pocan, who’s running for the House of Representatives in the 2nd Congressional district.
“According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, at the current pace it will take 45 years to completely eliminate the wage gap. At that pace, a 2012 college graduate will likely already be out of the workforce. Inequality in America is absolutely unacceptable. Women should not have to wait until 2057 or beyond to receive equal pay for equal work.
“Wisconsin has been in the news all too often for the backwards policies that obstruct equal pay. Our workforce has served as the testing lab for right-wing policies. Groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council writes the laws, Wisconsin Republicans test them out here and then they take their agenda to the rest of the country. I’ve been on the front lines of this fight and I will continue to fight efforts like this in Congress.”
And here’s a statement from Milwaukee Mayor (and Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Tom Barrett:
“Scott Walker has torn our state apart waging an ideological civil war in Wisconsin, and Walker’s war extends to women,” Barrett said. “No decision underscores that more than Walker’s move to take away enforcement teeth of our state’s equal pay law. As the father of three daughters I am deeply concerned with the impact this will have not only on my daughters, but also all Wisconsin women.”
Here’s a statement from Democratic State Rep. Donna Seidel, who’s also a candidate for the State Senate in the 29th District.
Today is national Equal Pay day, where the difference between what women and men make becomes a focus of attention. Recent statistics show that women make only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men for comparable jobs. But during a session where the legislature should have been focusing on jobs, Republicans instead decided to repeal our Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which made it easier and less costly for Wisconsin workers, including women, to hold employers accountable for wage discrimination.
Republicans argued that the Pay Equity Enforcement bill could kill jobs. That could not be farther from the reality. On the contrary, Wisconsin’s non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau showed that the law was succeeding in its goal of ensuring that woman are paid as much as men: female median earnings as a percentage of male median earnings rose three percent between 2009, when the Act went into effect, and 2010, the fifth largest improvement in the country; and Wisconsin improved twelve spots in the gender earnings parity rankings between 2009 and 2010. The pay gap between men and women was finally beginning to shrink.
Last (but certainly not least) here’s a statement from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign to mark Fair Pay Day:
Clearly there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to pay equality for women here in Wisconsin and across the nation, not to mention women’s rights in general.