40% of all households depend on women as the sole or primary breadwinner. Yet, today in Connecticut women are paid 77cents for every dollar paid to a man for the same work. In reality this means that women must donate an average of three months work each year before they begin to be paid equally to their male counterparts. This wage gap is found across all income levels and all levels of educational attainment. (PCSW Research Brief)
But what does it mean for our economy?
When considering the wage gap, single parent households that are headed by working women face greater barriers to economic security for themselves and for their children. So what would it mean if women received equal pay? There would be additional money for groceries, child care payments, and rent; equal compensation could make the difference between poverty and economic sustainability for many working mothers. In fact, it is estimated by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that the very high poverty rate for working single mothers would fall by nearly half, from 28.7 % to 15%. This in turn will greatly reduce children living in poverty. With fewer families in poverty Connecticut will pay far less for social services, there will be a larger tax base and children will have a greater opportunity to grow up in a healthy and positive environment. The result would be an economically stronger Connecticut.
What can be done?
During a recent round table discussion at the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Senator Blumenthal said the time for equal pay is now. He along with others in Connecticut’s democratic congressional delegation, including Chris Murphy and Rosa DeLauro, are hoping to gather enough support to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014. The Paycheck Fairness Act would build upon the Equal Pay Act which of 1963 by addressing some of the loopholes that exist in that legislation. It would require that:
- employers rather than employees carry the burden of proof when addressing equal pay issues
- companies be prohibited from taking retaliatory action against employees who raise concerns about gender-based wage discrimination
- penalties be strengthened for equal pay violations, including both compensatory and punitive damages
Blumenthal believes there is majority support for this bill; however the Senate was unable to gather the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster in the Senate. He is hoping that with additional support and advocacy work, this bill will pass before years end. For more information :
- Blumenthal Calls For Passage Of Paycheck Fairness Act, Demands Equal Pay For Women
- Hispanic Women’s Wage Inequality data show that Connecticut is one of the ten worst states in the country: