Many of today’s working women are the primary or sole breadwinners for their families. Alarmingly, statistics continue to indicate that women in the workplace only earn approximately 75 percent of what men earn. This gender discrimination affects women of all education levels and in every occupation, and for women of color the pay gap is even worse. Because female-headed households are more likely to be low-income, the pay disparity is not only a women’s issue—it’s a family issue.
Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act in the 113th Congress. The legislation will require employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job demonstrate that the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related and unrelated to gender. The legislation will also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who discuss salary information with their coworkers, and make it easier for women to file lawsuits against employers they accuse of sex-based pay discrimination.
Despite the fact that over 200 members of Congress have co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, House Republican Leadership still refuses to bring this legislation up for consideration on the floor of the House. For this reason, Rep. Eshoo has led her colleagues in signing a “discharge petition”–which, if signed by a simple majority of the House, forces the bill to the floor for a simple up-or-down vote.
In the 111th Congress, Rep. Eshoo was proud to cast her vote for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. President Obama subsequently signed this landmark legislation into law on January 29, 2009, in one of the early accomplishments of his Presidency. The Lilly Ledbetter law provides workers the right to sue for salary discrimination and extends the statute of limitations by two years to do so. This important reform of our employment law failed during the Bush Administration, but Rep. Eshoo was thrilled when it became the first bill signed into law by President Obama.