Sep 16 2014
Senator Votes for Bill to Close Wage Gap between Men & Women but Senate Republicans Again Block the Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp voted to advance legislation to help close the startling wage gap between men and women and make sure they receive equal pay for equal work. The bill, however, was once again blocked by Senate Republicans – for the second time in five months.
Since joining the Senate, Heitkamp has fought to make sure hard-working women get the pay they deserve and have earned. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which Heitkamp cosponsored, would help accomplish this by closing the significant wage gap that currently exists between men and women. Right now, women earn about three-quarters of what men earn both in North Dakota and nationwide.
“Every day in America, women are working 40, 50, even 60 hours a week just to support their families and put food on the table, but time and time again they come up short,” said Heitkamp. “By only earning just 77 cents to every dollar that men earn, women keep trying to catch up but get caught in a vicious cycle. This should not be the reality of 2014, especially as more women today are the primary or sole breadwinners for their families. Equal pay for equal work shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We have to correct this problem and we have to get it right – and I won’t stop fighting for it until the pay gap is zero.”
Some of the stark statistics about the pay gap for women in North Dakota and across the country include:
- Nationally, women make 77 percent of what men make, and in North Dakota, women make just 74 percent of what men earn. Women would have to work 12 years longer than men to make up the pay gap.
- North Dakota ranks as one of the states with the largest pay gaps between men and women.
- If the pay gap is closed, a working woman in North Dakota would have enough money for about two more years of food or about 19 more months of rent.
- In North Dakota, women with full-time jobs are paid an average of $33,877 annually compared to $45,888 for men.
- Women are now the leading or solo breadwinners in 40 percent of households, compared with just 11 percent in 1960.
In April, Senate Republicans prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from advancing. A day earlier, on Equal Pay Day, Heitkamp spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of closing the pay gap for women.
The Paycheck Fairness Act builds on the promise of the Equal Pay Act, passed more than 50 years ago on June 10, 1963. It helps close the pay gap by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, closing loopholes courts have created in the law, creating strong incentives for employers to obey the laws, and strengthening federal outreach and enforcement efforts. Click here for more details on the legislation.