According to the 2012 United States Census, full-time working Hoosier women earn only 73 cents for every dollar men earn. This gender pay gap is particularly critical in an economy where more than 65 percent of women are primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their households. This pay gap reduces a woman's and her family's assets by $431,000 in pay over a 40-year career.
Upon signing the Equal Pay Act in 1963, President Kennedy proclaimed the bill "affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force, they will find equality in their pay envelope." Contributing to the final passage of the Act, the ACLU testified three times before both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. However, loopholes and weak remedies have diminished the effectiveness of the law in combating wage discrimination against women. By giving employees the legal resources needed to challenge the wage gap itself, the more recent Paycheck Fairness Act would help close some of the loopholes and fully enable the realization of equal pay for equal work. In recognition of the need for an update of the Equal Pay Act, the ACLU has urged both the U.S. Congress and the President, through executive order, to take action.
Women in every state are victims of wage discrimination, although some states, like Indiana, are worse than others.
The wage gap most heavily impacts Black women, who earn 64 cents to every white male dollar, and Hispanic women, who earn 55 cents to every white male dollar.
An executive order from the President for federal contract employees would affect 26 million people across the country. Great progress in women's rights has been made, but earning 18 cents more over the last 50 years is not enough. We must continue to urge lawmakers and executives to act, so that next year on Equal Pay Day — the day in April each year when women achieve the same earnings as their male colleagues did on the previous December 31 — we will be closer to achieving pay equity.