Senate Democrats

On Equal Pay Day Reid Calls to Protect Wages and Pensions

Washington, D.C.- April 19th marks the annual observance of Equal Pay Day. The day, designed to raise awareness about the inequity in pay for women and minorities, is observed in April to mark how far into each year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the previous year. In addition, Tuesday is the day when women’s wages finally catch up to men’s wages from the previous week.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement:

“On Equal Pay Day we are reminded of how wide the wage gap is between women and men. Women still earn on average only 76 cents for every dollar earned by men. For minority women the situation is even worse, with African American women earning just 60 cents and Hispanic women making only 50 cents for each dollar that white men earn.

It is embarrassing that in the 21st Century, women in America are still paid less than men, even when they have the same education, skills and experience.

But the pay gap does not affect only women. It affects children and entire families because many of these wage earners are the sole breadwinners for their families. Lower pay for women means a family can’t give their children the same opportunities as they could if women were paid as much as men. In many cases it’s the difference between making ends meet or barely making it every month.

This also has an impact on their retirement security and reminds us of why it is so important we fight Social Security privatization and the benefit cuts that come with it. Lower wages lead to smaller pensions, meaning many women depend on Social Security to live with independence and dignity after they retire. In fact, without Social Security, more than half of female seniors would live in poverty.

It is unacceptable that pensions for women are half as much as pensions for men. And it is unacceptable that the families of working women are penalized in every paycheck.

America can do better, and Democrats are committed to closing the pay gap and strengthening Social Security to ensure that women’s skills and contributions to the labor force are fully recognized and fairly compensated.”