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Equal Pay

Supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act Means Closing the Wage Gap for Working Women

The wage gap for working women in the United States has been stagnant over the last decade – women working fulltime, year round are paid just 78 cents for every dollar paid to men.   Not incidentally, congressional action on the Paycheck Fairness Act has also been stagnant over the last decade.  Congress has blocked action on the Paycheck Fairness Act four times, including twice in the Senate as recently as last September.  But now, Congress has another chance to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and achieve economic security and equality for women.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, reintroduced today by Senator Mikulski and Representative DeLauro, achieves several important goals for working women by strengthening the tools that workers have to fight back against pay discrimination.  Specifically, the Act: Read more »

Big Night at the Oscars for Equal Pay for (Some) Women

The Academy Awards are, in one word, big. Big awards, big celebrities, big blockbusters, big hair…and in recent years, a big social media presence. Last year, a selfie tweeted by host Ellen DeGeneres “broke Twitter.” This year, that honor went to a surprising but overdue recipient: the call for equal pay.

The awards night thank you speech is a moment that, let’s be honest, sends a lot of us channel-surfing. But Patricia Arquette used that moment to tell millions of people about the critical need for fair pay. “It’s our time,” she said, “to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Read more »

Six Facts about Equal Pay on the Sixth Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Today marks six years since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. This law restores important protections against pay discrimination which were stripped away in the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and is a critical step in the fight to close the wage gap. But the fight is far from finished. Here are six facts that show how much farther we still have to go:* Read more »

“I Thought They Were Treating Me Fairly,” Or, Honoring Lilly Ledbetter by Eliminating Pay Secrecy Policies

“I thought I was earning good pay. I thought they were treating me fairly.” Those are the words of Lilly Ledbetter, whose story and Supreme Court case eight years ago opened many eyes to the egregious pay discrimination that continues across the American workforce.  Her story even moved Congress to act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama six years ago today as one of his first official acts as President, restored longstanding law and helped to ensure that individuals subjected to unlawful pay discrimination are able to effectively assert their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws. The Act operated to overturn a ruling by the Supreme Court, which would have required individuals to file claims for pay discrimination within 180 days of the first instance of discrimination—even where the employee does not learn about the discrimination until years or decades later, as what happened to Lilly Ledbetter. Under the Act, each discriminatory paycheck (rather than simply the original decision to discriminate) resets the 180-day limit to file a claim.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act has been a critical tool for victims of pay discrimination and it has reestablished employer accountability for pay discrimination. And yet, the Act is just one of many tools needed to rectify pay discrimination and close the gender-based wage gap, which remains at about 78 cents on the dollar. Read more »

Charlize Theron’s $10,000,000 Raise and Pay Secrecy

This weekend, we learned that Charlize Theron was slated to be paid less than Chris Hemsworth in the upcoming movie The Huntsman. And even though we already knew that the wage gap crosses nearly all occupations, we learned last month that other famous actresses, too, like Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, are paid less—by the millions—than their male counterparts.            

But Charlize Theron managed to do something that many women cannot: she negotiated a raise, rumored to be more than $10 million, so that she is now paid the same as her male co-star.

What helped Charlize Theron fight back against unequal pay—information about what her male co-star was paid—would also help millions of women in America get their fair share. But more often than not, pay secrecy rules keep information about what the man across the hall is paid under wraps. Read more »

No Matter How Much They "Hustle," American Women's Pay Isn't Catching Up

The recent hacking of thousands of Sony emails revealed that Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, two stars of last year’s blockbuster hit American Hustle, were paid millions of dollars less than co-stars Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Christian Bale. The latter actors are perfectly fine (I mean, two are superheroes!), but why did those first two stars of Hustle make so much less than the other three? Here’s my educated guess: Adams and Lawrence are women, and Cooper, Renner, and Bale…aren’t.

This story isn’t getting press because the wage gap is surprising. The Equal Pay Act was passed over 50 years ago, but we still don’t actually have equal pay yet. Women working full-time, year-round typically make 78 cents to every dollar made by men — it’s worse for most women of color, and complicated for transgender women as well. This story may have had bigger disparities to report if Hustle had starred Michelle Rodriguez and Laverne Cox instead. Read more »

D.C. and California Show Striking Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Gender Wage Gaps

We spent this morning crunching some newly released Census data on the gender wage gap in earnings for African American women and Latinas working full time, year round as compared to white, non-Hispanic men in all 50 states and D.C.  What we found is deeply troubling and makes clear that looking at the gender wage gap for women overall often hides striking inequalities.

Here are some of our key findings: Read more »

Latinas Deserve Fair Pay. It’s (Past) Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

October 8, 2014 is Latina Equal Pay Day and Matt Damon’s 44th birthday. Unfortunately, only one of those is an occasion for anyone to celebrate.

Last year, Latinas typically were paid just 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. That’s why today, more than 10 months into 2014, we’re marking the day when Latinas have finally been paid the same amount that white, non-Hispanic men were typically paid in 2013 alone. You read that right: it takes more than 21 months for Latinas to make what white, non-Hispanic men made in 12. Read more »

A Long Hard Look in the Mirror: the Wage Gap for Latinas

New NWLC analysis shows that in 2013, Latinas typically made only 56 percent of what white, non-Hispanic men earned. That’s 56 cents for every dollar, amounting to an annual difference of $23,279. So, on December 31, 2013, while white, non-Hispanic men who worked full time, year round were typically paid $53,488 for the year, Latinas were typically paid just $30,209. Today, more than 10 months into 2014, we’re marking the day when Latinas have finally been paid the same amount that white, non-Hispanic men were typically paid in 2013 alone. That’s right; it takes over 21 months for Latinas to earn what white, non-Hispanic men earn in 12. 21 months versus 12 – that’s not a very pretty reflection. Read more »

If Shonda Rhimes Says It’s Important, It’s Important

ABC’s Scandal is at the top of my DVR list—literally. This means that, come Thursdays at (its new time) 9 pm, nothing in this world (with the exception of a power outage) can get between me and my Scandal.

Can you tell that I, like all the other Gladiators out there, really love the show?

Something exciting always happens during Scandal, but what happened while watching Thursday’s season four premiere was even more exciting than usual. Shonda Rhimes and her writing team addressed two very important issues that are National Women’s Law Center priorities—equal pay for women and sexual assault. (You may have seen some of our resources and work on Title IX and sexual assault on college campuses, for example.) Read more »