Rocket ships are popular with the space kids who live at my house. Stomp rockets. Model rockets. Rockets made from empty paper towel rolls and popsicle sticks. No matter what type of rocket, there is always a countdown and there is always a blast off.
Today is the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. What better time could there be to get moving on a state-of-the-art plan to rocket to fair pay? Our progress in narrowing the wage gap ground to a halt ten years ago, after two decades of steady improvement. If you’re sick and tired of hearing that the typical woman is still paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to the typical man, do the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown with me of what it would take to finally close the wage gap:
5. Ensure that women have the same opportunities and encouragement as men to train for well-paying jobs, many of which are in fields in which women are currently underrepresented.
4. Provide paid family and medical leave and paid sick days, as well as flexible, predictable and stable work schedules so that workers who have caregiving responsibilities (and these still fall disproportionately on women) have an easier time staying in the workforce and don’t pay a huge wage penalty for fulfilling both their responsibilities as a caregiver and as a worker.
3. Ensure pay transparency so that workers can learn whether they are being paid unfairly without risking their jobs. In particular, the President should sign an Executive Order ensuring that federal contractors who have the privilege of doing business with the government don’t retaliate against workers for discussing their pay.
2. Pass the Fair Pay Act. The Fair Pay Act would ensure that women’s work will not be undervalued simply because it is done by women.
1. Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen the Equal Pay Act in critically important ways, making it easier for workers to identify and remedy pay discrimination.
Now go blast off! Pick up that phone and tell your Members of Congress to support fair pay today.