Women Aren’t Getting Paid Their Fair Share

And corporations should be held accountable for that

Credit: Gary Friedman/Getty Images

LLet’s speak this truth: Women in America are still not being treated equally, valued equally, or paid equally in this country. In workplaces across the country, women consistently find themselves undervalued and underpaid. Women on average make 80 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. And it’s worse for women of color. Black women make 61 cents on the dollar. Latinas make 53 cents on the dollar. For Native American women, it’s 58 cents. All that money adds up to more than $400,000 over the course of a woman’s career, and more than $1 million for Latinas, Native American women, and Black women.

It’s an outrage, and it has to end.

It’s not right that young women need to work more hours to pay off their student debt. It’s not right that new mothers are penalized for taking time off to care for their children. It’s not right that women retirees have less security and accumulated wealth after working their entire careers.

It’s not right that the wage gap has barely budged this entire century.

But up until now we’ve put the burden entirely on women to hold corporations accountable for pay discrimination through costly lawsuits that are increasingly difficult to prove. We’ve let corporations hide their wage gaps, but forced women to stand up in court just to get the pay they’ve earned.

The burden shouldn’t be on women to prove what the world already knows — that women aren’t paid equally.

We have been fighting this battle for a long time. Under President Barack Obama we finally made progress when he had the courage to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, finally giving women the right to litigate the issue when they become aware of it.

I want to take the next step and finally hold corporations accountable for pay inequality in America. The burden shouldn’t be on women to prove what the world already knows: that women aren’t paid equally. Under my plan, corporations have to do the right thing or they pay.

Here’s how we’ll hold them accountable.

Companies that do not earn an “Equal Pay Certification” from my administration will be fined 1% of their profit for every 1% wage gap they allow to persist for work of equal value.

Let’s be clear: When you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families and communities and all of society.

The wage gap isn’t just a number: It’s about the countless women across America who have been the target of discrimination. It’s time we treat women in the workplace with the respect they deserve, and pay them their fair value.

As the daughter of a working mother in a male-dominated field, I know the fight to be treated equally in the workplace has persisted for generations. It’s upon us to take on this fight so that all of our daughters can enter the workforce without fear of being undervalued.

Vice President of the United States. Senator, Wife, Momala, Auntie. Fighting for the people. She/her.

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