Fighting for Women's Equality

New ERA Report Highlights Continued Unequal Pay

April 14, 2015 | by

Equal pay report coverSAN FRANCISCO – On Equal Pay Day, Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls, has released the third installment of a three-part report that examines the impact of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the economic opportunity and security of women in the United States over the last 50 years.

Equal Pay Day is the symbolic national day that recognizes how far into a second year the average woman must work for her earnings to catch up to that of the average man.

ERA will be participating in fair pay activities throughout the day, including a press conference and hearing at City Hall in San Francisco where the Board of Supervisors will vote on a proposed resolution declaring April 14 Equal Pay Day in the city. ERA will also use this opportunity to seek support of Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act. The bill – recently introduced by California Senator Hannah Beth Jackson and sponsored by ERA – would be the strongest state equal pay law in the country, closing loopholes in existing law and strengthening the protection of workers who talk about pay.

ERA’s report, “Moving Women Forward on the 50th Anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” recognizes that while much progress has been made since 1964, at least three persistent barriers to equal employment opportunity for women in the U.S. continue to challenge us as a nation:

  • Sexual harassment and violence
  • Discrimination against pregnant workers and working mothers
  • The gender wage gap

These barriers are particularly steep for low wage women workers and women of color.

Part Three of the report, “A Gender Wage Gap That Won’t Close,” highlights the persistence of pay inequality and the barriers to fair pay faced by women workers. Fifty years after the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 52 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women still face, on average, a pay gap of 22 cents.  The figures are much worse for women of color.

“Equal Pay Day is just the beginning of the story,” said Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of ERA.  “Women of color face horrifying pay inequity; the numbers reveal that the average Latina worker, for example, must work for 201 extra days for her pay to catch up to what the average white man earned in the prior year.  We must work together to educate ourselves and pass common sense laws that end pay inequity once and for all.”

The report, which addresses both the bright spots and blind spots of Title VII, outlines specific measures needed to move women forward.  These recommended actions will correct misinterpretations of Title VII, improve enforcement of this and other important laws designed to advance women at work, and fill policy gaps that deprive too many of the opportunities and protection they need.  A copy of the complete report and ERA’s recommendations for action are available here.

To read the first and second installment of “Moving Women Forward,” which address sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination against pregnant workers, visit our publications page.

Press Contacts:

Cynthia Foster, ERA communications manager, cfoster@equalrights.org 

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