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St. Paul, Minn. – Today, April 12, marks “Equal Pay Day,” the point of the year when women’s pay finally catches up to what men were paid in 2015. This day is observed each year to illustrate the persistent gap in wages between genders for performing the same work. Rep. JoAnn Ward (DFL – Woodbury) released the following statement:
“On average nationwide, a woman makes just 79 cents for each dollar a man makes over the course of a year for the exact same work. The U.S. Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and it’s completely unacceptable that we need to continue having this discussion. When you look further and examine what women of color make, this disparity is even greater and this highlights the real, urgent need for more action at all levels of government.
“In the state of Minnesota, it’s a bit better, at 81 cents on the dollar. Over the course of a woman’s career though, that’s an average of $382,360 lost due to this wage gap. We have made progress on this issue but still, a great deal of work remains both with regard to wages as well as other policies enabling women to succeed in our economy. The 2014 Women’s Economic Security Act, for instance, was perhaps the boldest step in a generation toward this, but women face lingering challenges. Whether it’s when they work to start a new business, seek health care, pay for childcare, or fight their way out of poverty, hurdles remain and we need to come together to enact solutions.
“When women succeed, families succeed and our economy will continue to grow. Today, on Equal Pay Day, I call on my colleagues here at the Legislature to renew our commitment to make this goal a reality.”