Payne Calls Gender Pay Gap Shocking

Feb 4, 2014 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Last night, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. spoke on the need for Congress to act to close the gender wage gap.  Still today, women make just 77 cents on the dollar as their male counterparts, and women of color make just 64 cents on the dollar.  In New Jersey, women make on average more than $13,000 less a year as their male coworkers. Rep. Payne, Jr. said this disparity is shocking and called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, pass the FAMILY Act, and raise the minimum wage because when “Women Succeed, America Succeeds.”  Watch the video here

Please find below remarks prepared for delivery:

“Madame Speaker, although we have made great progress in closing the gender wage gap, women still typically earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same work. 

“And for women of color, the gap is even wider – with women of color earning just 64 cents on every dollar.

“In New Jersey, the gap has grown worse. In just one year, women in New Jersey earn on average $13,000 less than her male counterparts. Over the course of her lifetime, that adds up to be more than $434,000. 

“Madame Speaker, we live in the 21st Century:  Women now make up more than half of our workforce. 

“As President Obama said last week in his State of the Union address: paying women less is not just plain wrong, ‘in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.’

“And this gross gender pay gap doesn’t just hurt women, it hurts their families, and it hurts our local economy, too.

“I don’t know a single husband who is happy with his wife making 77 percent of what she deserves to make.  Any way you look at it, it’s lost revenue coming into the home.

“And on top of it, a woman shouldn’t feel like she may lose her job when she takes time off to care for her sick child. 

“I know that my wife and I were very fortunate to have FMLA while we were raising our triplets.  When one got sick, they all got sick. There was no way either of us could care for them while worrying about whether she was going to have a job to return to. 

“But still today, too many women have to choose between being employed and caring for their family.  It’s not right, and it’s not fair.

“And finally, Madame Speaker, in the greatest nation on Earth, no one who puts in a 40-hour work week should ever live in poverty – no one! 

“In this country, it’s not just about having a job, but having a good job. More than two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women. 

“We owe it to them to pay them a wage that they can actually live on and provide for their families.

“I was very encouraged by the President’s action to raise the wage for new government contract workers.  Congress needs to follow this example. 

“There are many things that this Congress can do to ensure that women succeed. 

“Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, pass the Family Act, and raise the minimum wage.  All have been blocked by House Republicans. 

“But the success of women in America cannot and should not be a partisan issue.

“We must put our political differences aside.  We owe it to our mothers, wives, and daughters to provide them with the quality of life that they deserve.

“Because when women succeed, America succeeds.”