Category Archives: women’s rights

The Right to Equal Pay for Equal Work

Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?

In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act but till this day full-time working women are still paid, on average, less than men. This significant gap is more than a statistic — it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.

Learn more about how President Obama is tackling this issue:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/equalpay

Advertisements

Remarks by the President on the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, 6/10/13

“Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work. Now, that’s wrong. I don’t want that for Malia and Sasha. I don’t want that for your daughters. I don’t want that to be an example that any child growing up ends up accepting as somehow the norm. I want every child to grow up knowing that a woman’s hard work is valued and rewarded just as much as any man’s.

Now, what’s important to realize also, though, is this is not just an issue of fairness. This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue. This is an economic issue. Just last week, a report confirmed what we already know: that women are increasingly the breadwinners for American families. Women are now the primary source of income for nearly 40 percent of American families. Forty percent — almost half.

That’s not something to panic about, or to be afraid about -– that’s a sign of the progress and the strides that we’ve made. But what it does mean is that when more women are bringing home the bacon, they shouldn’t just be getting a little bit of bacon. (Laughter.) If they’re bringing home more of the income and that income is less than a fair share, that means that families have less to get by on for childcare or health care, or gas or groceries. It makes it harder for middle-class families to save and retire. It leaves small businesses with customers who have less money in their pockets — which is not good for the economy. That’s not a good example to set for our sons and daughters, but it’s also not a good recipe for long-term, stable economic growth.

So to anyone who says 77 cents on the dollar sounds pretty close to equal, I say, your math is bad….

That’s why, as Valerie mentioned, I created the first-ever White House Council on Women and Girls, which is working to close that gap….

It’s why I established a National Equal Pay Task Force to help crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which, by the way, they’re doing at a record rate. And, through education and outreach, they’re also helping employers develop tools to comply with the nation’s equal pay laws on their own. And that’s why, earlier this year, I signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government to close that gap for good for its employees. (Applause.) We have to set an example.

It’s also why we’re using the latest technology to help workers get the information they need to figure out if they’re underpaid….

Now is the time for Congress to step up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so women have better tools to fight for equal pay for equal work. (Applause.)

Now is the time for us to encourage more young women to pursue math and science education. Now is the time for us to hire more STEM teachers so all our children are prepared for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of tomorrow.

Now is the time to make sure businesses offer men and women the flexibility to be good employees and good parents. And I really want to commend Deloitte and SumAll, and the CEOs who are with us here today, they are creating exactly the kinds of innovative workplaces that help hard-working Americans thrive, and they’re committed to pay equity. And so when you have a chance to talk to Joe, say thank you. And the CEOs who are out there, if you want a first-class company that is tapping into the talents and resources of all your employees, make sure that you’re putting in place systems so that they all feel like they’re being treated fairly and equally. It’s a simple principle and it’s a powerful one.

And now is the time to make sure that we are putting in place a minimum wage that you can live on — (applause) — because 60 percent of those making the minimum wage are women.

If we do all this — and this will be part of our broader agenda to create good jobs and to strengthen middle-class security, to keep rebuilding an economy that works for everybody, that gives every American the chance to get ahead, no matter who you are or what you look like, or what your last name is and who you love.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/19hFmS1

West Wing Week: 05/31/13 or “Greetings from Asbury Park”

This week, the President spoke to the graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, traveled to Oklahoma and New Jersey to highlight recovery efforts and honored Memorial Day with the First Lady at Arlington National Cemetery.

President Obama Speaks at the Planned Parenthood Gala

“Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s health, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you. No insurer should get to decide what kind of care that you get. The only person who should get to make decisions about your health is you. (Applause.) That’s why we fought so hard to make health care reform a reality. (Applause.)

That principle is at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Because of the ACA, most insurance plans are now covering the cost of contraceptive care, so that a working mom doesn’t have to put off the care she needs just so she can pay her bills on time. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 47 million women have new access to preventive care like mammograms and cancer screenings with no copay, no deductible, no out-of-pocket costs, so they don’t have to put off a mammogram just because money is tight. Because of the Affordable Care Act, young people under the age of 26 can now stay on their parent’s health care plan.

And insurance companies soon will no longer be able to deny you coverage based on preexisting conditions like breast cancer, or charge you more just because you are a woman. Those days are ending. (Applause.) Those days are ending. (Applause.)

Now, I know how hard you worked to help us pass health care reform. You and your supporters got out there — you organized; you mobilized; you made your voices heard. It made all the difference. But here’s the thing — if Americans don’t know how to access the new benefits and protections that they’re going to receive as we implement this law, then health care reform won’t make much of a difference in their lives.

So I’m here to also ask for your help, because we need to get the word out. We need you to tell your patients, your friends, your neighbors, your family members what the health care law means for them. Make sure they know that if they don’t have health insurance, they’ll be able to sign up for quality, affordable insurance starting this fall in an online marketplace where private insurers will compete for their business. Make sure that they know that there are plans out there right now that cover the cost of contraceptive and preventive care free of charge….

As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a President who’s going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/12urZIB

2013 International Women of Courage Award Ceremony with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry

Mrs. Obama:

“When these women witnessed horrific crimes or the disregard for basic human rights they spoke up, risking everything they had to see that justice was done. When they saw their communities or their countries were ignoring issues like sexual violence or women’s rights, they gave those issues a face and a voice. And with every act of strength and defiance, with every blog post, with every community meeting, these women have inspired millions to stand with them, and find their own voices, and work together to achieve real and lasting change.

And that is truly the power of the International Women of Courage Award — that this is not simply an honor bestowed upon a few, but a call for all of us to open our eyes to the injustices around us, and to ask ourselves just what kind of courage we’ve got inside our own hearts….

And the potential that I see in not just all of you, but all of our young women all across this world, that reminds me that the rest of us must work to lift up the women and girls in our own communities — because we know that when women and girls rise, their communities and their countries rise with them.”

The First Lady’s complete remarks: http://1.usa.gov/YISSXr

Secretary Kerry:

“As you know, I returned less than 48 hours ago from Europe and the Middle East…

I spoke with one young woman at a coffeehouse in Berlin. She is Muslim, and told me that she’s part of an organization of teenagers who have created a dialogue about equality and tolerance. So, my friends, steps from the Reichstag and the markings – the old markings and brick of the Berlin Wall, a young Muslim woman today proudly stands up with her peers to map a very different, and better, more open future. Her activism and her fearlessness spoke to me about a special kind of courage….

…. it is also the courage of every man who defends his daughter’s right to an equal education, or every brother who challenges a law that keeps his sister from owning property or opening a business, or every husband who not only promises that the cycle of domestic violence can stop with him, but who proves it.

I see that courage and I see that hope in every woman on this stage – and you will learn that in a moment – and in the testimony of the four honorees who cannot be here today because of the repression and the intimidation that still festers around the world. I see how much work we still have to do, and so do you. One of our awardees is in hiding. One is in prison. Another is locked under house arrest. And we present a fourth award posthumously for a brave woman whose life was brazenly stolen by brutal violence.

Their cause is our cause. Women’s issues, as we know, are more than just women’s issues. They’re families’ issues, they’re economic issues, they’re security issues, they’re justice issues. And they matter to all of us, men as well as women….”

The Secretary’s complete remarks: http://1.usa.gov/X5gOrc