Equal pay for equal work

Last week, Congress blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a piece of legislation intended to cut the gender wage gap in the U.S.

President Obama released a statement, calling the Paycheck Fairness Act “commonsense legislation that would strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act and reinforce our country’s commitment to the principle of equal pay for equal work.”

Tuesday, April 8, was Equal Pay Day, a public awareness event designed to illustrate the pay gap between men and women. The day of the week is significant, since it takes women until Tuesday to earn what men earned Monday through Friday the previous week.

According to U.S. Census statistics, full time working women earned, on average, 77 cents to each dollar earned by men for equivalent work.

We believe this is not a partisan issue, but rather a matter of rightness.

Women compose nearly half of the workforce, yet bring home 23 percent less than their male counterparts. According to U.S. Census data, if the earning gap remains, by the time the average working woman reaches the age of 65, she will have lost more than $430,000.

This does not only affect women, it affects families, communities and our country’s future.

Michigan has the seventh-widest gender-based pay gap in the U.S., with women earning 74 cents for every dollar men make, according to a new report by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Due to the wage gap, the report states that women who work full time in Michigan lose a combined total of $15,619,025,625 each year.

U.S. Census statistics from 2012 estimate the population of Mecosta County to be 43,229 people, with 49.7 percent of those residents being female. If each woman makes 74 cents, together they earn about $15,899. If there was not a gender-based wage gap, they would collectively earn about $5,586 more.

But the Paycheck Fairness Act is not just about numbers. It’s not about opposing political views. It’s about what is right and what will benefit communities. Communities right here in Mecosta County.

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