June 10, 2013 was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act. Of course, women still make only $0.77 for every dollar earned by a man, but we’ve certainly come a long way in closing the gender pay gap during those 50 years. You can see for yourself in our “What’s She Worth? The Slow Road to Equal Pay” infographic that outlines the gender pay gap over the past 60 years.
In a press release coinciding with the 50th anniversary, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reaffirmed its commitment to eliminating gender-based pay discrimination and EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien released a statement explaining,
“Although the progress of the last 50 years is undeniable, pay discrimination remains a pressing problem for women in America. In 2012 women generally earned 77 percent of men’s wages, and for African American women and Latinas, the number is even lower. At the rate at which we are progressing the gender pay gap will not close until 2057.”
The EEOC also announced some of the steps its taking to prioritize the elimination of the gender pay gap, including:
- Making the enforcement of equal pay laws one of its six priorities for fiscal years 2013-2016 in its Strategic Enforcement Plan.
- Participating in the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, launched by President Obama to “improve compliance, public education, and enforcement of equal pay laws.” In its role, the EEOC will try to accomplish two goals: 1) improve interagency coordination and strengthen enforcement of wage discrimination laws; 2) to increase outreach, education and public awareness concerning compensation discrimination.
The EEOC has already had some important achievements related to the elimination of the gender pay gap. According to the EEOC press release, it has accomplished the following:
- Received nearly 20,000 charges of wage discrimination with 9,000 of those charges (45%) alleging gender-based pay discrimination between January 2010 when the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force was established and March 2013.
- Obtained over $78 million in monetary relief for victims of gender-based wage discrimination between January 2010 when the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force was established and March 2013.
- Filed and obtained settlements for a number of law suits challenging pay discrimination and used its authority under the Equal Pay Act to investigate gender-based pay discrimination charges.
For more information, you can follow the link to view the White House Task Force Fifty Years After the Equal Pay Act. document, which was released yesterday, along with a website that offers information about equal pay and links to websites for related government agencies, enforcement authorities, and the EEOC.