By Alison Pastor, JWI
Jewish Women International is a champion of women’s economic security, and a vocal advocate for paycheck fairness. Our advocacy network continually urges Congress to support policies that enhance and promote women’s equal representation and compensation in the workforce. During the State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama emphasized plans to combat inequality and improve our nation’s economy, referring to 2014 as a “year of action.” Specifically, he addressed paycheck fairness and equality in the workplace for women.
“Women deserve equal pay for equal work,” he said. “Today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”
Reaffirming that 2014 will be a year of action, Obama proclaimed “This year let’s all come together, Congress, the White House, businesses from Wall Street to Main Street, to give every woman the opportunity she deserves because I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”
Implementing equal and economically just policies for women in the workplace would also help to boost the nation’s economy overall. According to The Shriver Report, bridging the gender wage gap would add nearly half-a-trillion dollars to the national economy and boost the gross domestic product by 23 percent–double its current growth. The Report also examines obstacles that a woman may face when advocating for equal payment, including not fully understanding her worth, being unaware of how to present a counter offer, or accepting that an offer is sufficient. Additionally, if women were paid as much as their male counterparts, the US economy would produce $447.6 billion in additional income.
While some progress has been made, women still face serious economic hardships. It’s 2014—high time for policies that will reinforce women’s economic security and equalize pay in the workforce. To learn how to get involved and support these and other women’s issues, visit JWI’s action center.