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AAUW favors Paycheck Fairness Act

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POTSDAM - The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is pleased that the Paycheck Fairness Act will be reintroduced in Congress next week on Jan. 23, the anniversary of the signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. AAUW urges all members of Congress to become original cosponsors in both Houses of Congress.

The Paycheck Fairness Act provides a much needed update to the Equal Pay Act, first passed in 1963. The new statute would bring the law’s principles and practices in line with the nation’s other civil rights laws. The Paycheck Fairness Act helps to create incentives for employers to follow the law, empowers women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthens federal outreach and enforcement efforts.

The bill would also deter discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages.

There is no higher priority for the American public than rebuilding the economy and creating jobs, and working to ensure equal pay for equal work is a critical step in that direction. The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the wage gap remains stuck at 23 cents, meaning women working full time still earn just 77 cents, on average, for every dollar made by their male counterparts.

The numbers are worse for women of color, and, as AAUW research shows, a pay gap exists even between male and female college graduates one year after graduation. We can’t make real progress in closing the wage gap until we strengthen enforcement of

existing anti-discrimination laws and give women the tools they need to get the pay they deserve.

For the first time in American history, women represent half of the paid workforce, and two-thirds of women are either the primary or co-bread winner for their families. In other words, fair pay is not just a moral issue; it is an economic imperative with enormous implications for women and for working families, communities and the nation’s recovery. In this economic climate, Congress must attend to such a critical issue.

The pay gap is real, and it’s an issue that matters to the millions of women voters who were key to the election results in November. St. Lawrence County Branch members have written to Rep. Owens and both our US Senators urging them to sign on to this important economic security legislation for women and their families.

In addition, AAUW members will be watching closely the progress of the Women’s Equality Act provisions in New York State to be sure our state legislators are putting the needs of New York families first and protecting the financial interests of the voters who sent them to Albany.

Membership in the St. Lawrence County Branch is open to anyone who supports the mission of AAUW. AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research.

AAUW, with its nationwide network of more than 100,000 members, more than 1,000 branches conducting programs in communities across the country, and 500 college and university partners, has been a leading advocate for equity and education for women and their families since 1881.

For more information about AAUW in St. Lawrence County, contact President Jennifer Ball at 268- 4208 or jball@clarkson.edu or Public Policy Chair Kathleen Stein at 386-3812, kstein1@twcny.rr.com, or visit the branch website, http://www.northnet.org/stlawrenceaauw/index.html

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