FACIMA HUSSEIN – Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden marked Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, highlighting new steps to close the gender pay gap for federal workers and contractors. And he urged private companies to do the same.
Biden signed Equal pay day an ordinance that encourages – but does not order – the government to consider banning federal contractors from seeking information about the previous salary history of job applicants. The Department of Labor has also issued a directive aimed at strengthening the responsibilities of federal contractors to check wages to help guard against pay gaps based on gender, race or ethnicity.
“I hope this will also be an example for all private companies,” Biden said after signing the order. “Gender equality is not just a women’s issue. It benefits everyone. “
The Office of Personnel Management was instructed to consider a decree on the use of previous salary history when hiring and establishing compensation for federal workers.
Equal pay day is designed to draw attention to how much time women need to work to earn what men earn.
The data show that, although the pay gap is the smallest, coronavirus pandemic changed women’s participation in the workforce so that “what we see is an artificial narrowing,” said Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Center for Women’s Law.
For example, women who remained in the labor force during the pandemic and worked full time often had higher wages than their counterparts who lost low-paid jobs, so 2020 figures should not be compared to wage gap data from previous years, Tucker said. .
The pandemic cloud cast a shadow over this year’s Equal Pay Day events at the White House, which included speeches by prominent activists and a familiar refrain from the Biden administration to get workers to join unions.
“Over the past two years, the pandemic has only deepened these inequalities as care has become more expensive and harder to find.” Vice President Kamala Harris he said at the afternoon event.
“Over a 40-year career, a woman will lose about $ 400,000. For black, Latin American and Native American women, this loss of wages is approaching $ 1 million, ”Harris said.
The White House summit on Equal Pay Day was attended by recent cabinet members, company executives and players of the U.S. Women’s National Football Team. Discrimination agreement with American football worth $ 24 million.
The agreement includes a commitment to equalize pay and bonuses to match the men’s team.
Star midfielder Megan Rapino said the team’s resounding victory could be particularly resounding for union workers who are collectively fighting for equal rights in the workplace.
“I think the more we connect our stories, the more we literally connect with each other,” she said, “when I see myself in union workers in Alabama and they see themselves in us or our team, it’s all just the same because we are all dealing with the same problem ”.
Among other issues, the Biden administration wants to combat occupational segregation to give women better access to well-paid work, which tends to be dominated by men.
Finance Minister Janet Yellen said fair wage efforts were having a major impact on the economy, as “some studies show that if women received a fair wage, poverty for working women would be halved.”
In October last year, the administration issued national gender strategy promote the full participation of women and girls in society.
Tucker said there was a long way to go to achieve equal pay – especially after the pandemic.
In February 2022, there were more than 1.1 million fewer women than in February 2020, which means they are not working or looking for work.
“There has been a particular drop among low-paid workers, and what’s left are middle-aged and higher-paid workers who have been isolated from the pandemic,” Tucker said.
According to the White House, in 2020, the average woman who worked full time earned 83 cents a dollar compared to her male counterparts who did the same job. The gap is even bigger for black and Native American women and Latinos.
This issue also affects women later in life. And 2020 Research by the Brookings Institution on women’s retirement found that social security payments for women average 80% of payments for men.
Associated Press writer Chris Megerian contributed to this report.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.