Forty five years ago today, on June 10, 1963, the Equal Pay Act was passed, making it illegal to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform equal work. And while this was a huge step forward, the sad truth is that women still earn only 77 cents to the dollar. Point being, mamas, these wage laws badly need to be strengthened.
Several bills have been introduced into Congress repeatedly — including the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act — but Congress still hasn't stepped up to the plate. And, as you might recall, the U.S. Senate didn't pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act this Spring, either. But the good news is that the National Women's Law Center is hot on this one - again! Their quick update on the Ledbetter bill's progress:
On April 23, 2008, the Senate voted on a motion to advance the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a key bill that would have a major impact on the lives of women who’ve been subject to pay discrimination. We've made it past the first vote — and we're gearing up for round two in the Senate. With 57 Senators voting in our favor, we are now just 3 votes away from moving the bill forward. And we need your help to make fair pay a reality for women.
Ready to help, Mamas? We need constituents in key states to contact their U.S. Senators. Happily, our very own Senators Smith and Wyden voted for the Ledbetter bill (go Oregon!). So, our work is to contact our friends and family in other states where at least one Senator voted against the bill. Why interstate activism, you ask? Don't we have enough to do right here at home? Because we're all in this together, mamas. So, open that address book, mamas! Know anybody in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. If so, start e-mailing them. The National Women's Law Center has a simple e-card that you can send them and they can quickly forward on to the powers that be. So that they may be powerful in just the right way!