April 2 was National Equal Pay Day, which marks the EXTRA time an average woman has to work to take home what a man earned last year. As a member of the California Pay Equity Task Force, I am working with my colleagues to identify the causes of the pay gap.
California passed an Equal Pay Act in 1949. The act banned companies from paying anyone less than a coworker doing the same work, solely because of their gender.
Even so, women continue to earn significantly less than their male counterparts. In California, where we pride ourselves on treating others fairly, women take home 86 cents for every dollar earned by men. While that is the smallest pay gap nationally, it still means women in this state lose a combined total of $76.8 billion each year.
We can and we must do better.
If we close the wage gap, a woman could pay for 9.5 more months of child care, 48 weeks of food for her family, or more than 3 months of mortgage and utility payments.
As part of our effort to promote equal pay, the California Pay Equity Task Force worked with its valued partners to launch the #EqualPayCA awareness campaign. Our goal is to educate the public and provide resources to both employers and job seekers on the causes of the pay gap and how they can join the effort to close it. To set an example, we have partnered with 13 major companies that have pledged to conduct annual reviews of their pay structures and promotion policies to ensure women are being treated fairly in the workplace.
We all can play a part in making sure women receive the pay they deserve. For more information about how you help close the pay gap, please visit women.ca.gov/CaliforniaPayEquity
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Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.