President Obama has outlined new plans to close the gender pay gap in the United States. Women still earn just 79 cents to every dollar earned by man in the US. This comes nearly fifty years after the Equal Pay Act was passed by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s in an attempt to demolish the discrepancy between male and female pay.
“We are talking about folks doing the same job but being paid different,” the president said during an address at the White House. “What kind of example does paying women less set for our sons and daughters,” the president continued.
The Obama administration has now issued new proposals requiring all companies with at least 100 employees to disclose salaries broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. Obama’s executive action would cover all companies with more than 100 employees, representing some 63 million workers.
The plan comes seven years after Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was designed to make it easier for women to bring pay discrimination lawsuits. It was the first bill Obama signed into law and just nine days after he took office.
However, progress towards equal pay has been very slow. When the Ledbetter bill was passed, women were paid an average of 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man. Today it stands at 79 cents. The median wage of full-time working women is $39,600 compared to $50,400 collected by men.