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55 Years After the Equal Pay Act, Unmarried Women Still Only Make 70 Cents To a Man’s Dollar
On this day in 1963, President Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act, which intended to end discriminatory wage practices between men and women in similarly held employment positions. The Voter Participation Center recognizes President Kennedy’s bold achievement on the path toward equality, but the United States still has a long way to go. Women in the U.S. lose almost $900 billion every year due to the wage gap, according to a recent report from The National Partnership for Women & Families.
Page Gardner, founder and president of the Voter Participation Center, said, “It was a monumental achievement by President Kennedy to pass the Equal Pay Act, but there is still substantial work to be done. Unmarried women and women of color face discrimination in the workplace and in their communities. More than half of all mothers, many of them single mothers, are the chief breadwinners in their households. The $900 billion women lose each year due to the wage gap hurts their ability to adequately support, much less invest, in the future of their families. Commonsense steps like passing the Paycheck Fairness Act will go a long way toward giving all women, particularly unmarried women, an even playing field in the economy.”
For unmarried women, who are enormous contributors to our economy despite their lower wages, this income loss is even more devastating. The Voter Participation Center’s recent report, “Unmarried Women in America: Cornerstone of our Democracy,” found that one of the most important policy issues facing single women is unequal pay and its trickle-down effects on child care, healthcare, and others costs.
VPC’s report also found that one in three unmarried women are not currently registered to vote – which equals 19 million unmarried women. Unmarried women are half of all women in the U.S. and 26 percent of the voting eligible population. However, unmarried women are not registered and do not vote at the same rates as married women. There are critical policies that will benefit all women, and unmarried women in particular – like the Paycheck Fairness Act – but the best way for unmarried women to demand these policies from their elected officials is if they vote. Taking advantage of their growing shares of the population and their growing political power will give unmarried women the ability to fight for equal pay for equal work.
The Voter Participation Center registers and mobilizes the Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, people of color, and young people. VPC has registered nearly four million people since 2004 and works to inspire unmarried women and other underrepresented groups to increase their civic engagement and permanently change the American electorate.