REPORT FROM CONGRESSWOMAN HIRONO’S US SENATE CAMPAIGN – Women play a critical role in the American economy.  Over half of all U.S. workers are women, and over half of all American women are in the labor force.  Despite the importance of women in the economy, women are paid significantly less than men.  The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to give women access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work.

In Hawaii, the median pay for a woman working full time, year round is $36,242 per year, while the median yearly pay for a man is $45,443. This means that women are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men.

Nationally more than 12 million families with children rely primarily on women’s earnings and more than 19 million families with children have a mother that is a breadwinner or co-breadwinner.

“My mother raised three children by herself and was the sole provider for our family.  She held low-paying jobs with no job security; no health care and times were tough.  Wage conditions for women have changed since those days, but progress has stalled in recent years. If improvement continues at its current rate, it will take 45 years to eradicate the wage gap.  Women in Hawaii and across the country play a critical role in our economy, but continue to receive less pay for equal work.  This cannot be allowed to go on,” said Representative Hirono.

“The wage gap affects working class families as the salaries of women are critical to their families’ financial survival and stability.  Yet they continue to face a career wage gap that sets them back hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their lives. Women face this gap regardless of their education, occupation, or where they live, added Representative Hirono

In 2009 Hirono co-sponsored the House version of the Paycheck Fairness Act which was approved 256 – 163 .  Among other provisions, the legislation would ensure that a law already on the books — the Equal Pay Act of 1963 — is properly enforced. It would also make sure that women aren’t punished for asking for information about what their male colleagues are earning in order to ensure they are being paid properly.

 

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