HARRISBURG, PA — State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, Jennifer O’Mara, Donna Bullock and Tina Davis will host a virtual news conference to discuss the gender wage gap and their legislation to help close it on Equal Pay Day, March 24.
The public may livestream the event at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 24 by visiting PAHouse.com.
“We’re going to talk about pay inequality on March 24 because this day marks how far into the year the average woman must work to earn what the average man earns in the previous year, regardless of experience or job type,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “Equal Pay Day should be January 1 for everybody. Pay disparities among women, especially women of color whose Equal Pay Day does not come until later in the year, cause them to annually miss out on tens of thousands of dollars. It is long overdue that we close the gender wage gap.”
“On average, a woman who works full-time in Pennsylvania earns 20% less than our commonwealth’s working men,” said O’Mara, D-Delaware. “It’s time that we discuss what contributes to this wage gap and how we can close it so Pennsylvania women can better support themselves and their families. Our commonwealth has not updated its equal pay law in half a century, so this is a topic we desperately need to revisit to ensure that working women are protected.”
“I know women who were paid less than men while performing the same job,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “I was one of those women. House Bill 821 seeks to address the employment practices that perpetuate pay inequities — inequities that were only amplified by COVID-19 — especially for Black women, who won’t see their symbolic Equal Pay Day until August 22. Women are often on the front lines as essential workers, but these have been treated as expendable. Many women have left the workforce due to the pandemic. The long-term effects of COVID-19 on women in the workplace are uncertain, but I am certain that these work interruptions will impact the earning potential for women and further widen the gender pay gap.”
“The gender pay gap has long been an issue in Pennsylvania, weakening the economy and fraying the social structure,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “In the last year, when the pandemic hit our economy like a tidal wave, the group disproportionately swept away by it were women with children, as many held the hospitality and service jobs that were cut and bear the burden of childcare responsibilities at home. Women, who make up 43% of the workplace, suffered from a whopping 56% of COVID-related job losses, according to McKinsey & Co. As we begin to rebuild Pennsylvania’s economy, we have the opportunity to help close the gender pay gap and strengthen our social safety net by enacting legislation, such as raising the minimum wage. We must not lose this unique opportunity to build back better in Pennsylvania.”
More information is available by contacting Shusterman’s office at 484-200-8260.
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