Living up to his word in championing women’s rights in the workplace, President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday that addresses the government’s wage gap by mandating that contractors publish wage data by gender and race to ensure compliance with equal-pay laws. It also prohibits contractors from retaliating against employees who compare salaries.
“Restoring opportunity for all has to be our priority, making sure the economy rewards hard work for every single American. Because when women succeed, America succeeds,” Obama said in a speech to mark National Equal Pay Day. “We are going to work to make sure that our daughters have the same chance to pursue their dreams as our sons.”
Obama urged businesses and the government to do more to hire women and achieve gender equality, which is argues will lift families out of poverty and allocate more resources to child care, college tuition and retirement savings.
Despite the president’s commendable push to close the wage gap between men and women, however, some say his executive order doesn’t do enough. Women’s Rights advocates are pushing for the passing of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would extend requirements to all employers and not just on a federal level. The act would, among other things, require that employers demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012, women who worked full time earned, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar men earned. The figures are even worse for women of color. African American women earned only approximately 64 cents and Latinas only 54 cents for each dollar earned by a white male.
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