Set to be a key issue this upcoming mid-term election cycle, the widening gap between what men and women are paid in equal positions was the topic of a discussion group held this week at the White House.
Last Wednesday President Obama hosted a meeting with a group of female Democratic leaders to discuss gender pay inequality and the importance that everyone in the workplace has an equal chance of financial success.
“Over the last several weeks and months, what the American people have seen is my single-most important priority domestically is to make sure that everybody in this country has opportunity, that if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can make it,” said President Obama, “ At a time when the economy is growing, at a time when corporate profits are high and the stock market is doing well, we want to make sure that everybody is benefitting from that growth, because what we know is when everybody has opportunity, when everybody is on the field, America’s economy grows faster, the middle class expands, and that, in turn, fosters more growth.”
At the meeting, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors shared an informative report which outlined the severity of the gender wage gap that exists in America. Detailed in the report are figures which state that full-time working women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a full-time working man.
“What we also know is women are still making 77 cents on the dollar, including when they enter into these high-paying professions, they’re making less money. We know that women continue to be disproportionately represented in low-wage professions, which means that something like an increase in the federal minimum wage is going to have a disproportionate impact on them,” announced the President, “And women are still the ones that are carrying the greatest burden when it comes to trying to balance family and work. Because of inadequate childcare, or the inability to get paid leave for a sick child or an ailing parent, they end up suffering the burdens -- and, by the way, that means families are suffering the burden, because, increasingly, women are a critical breadwinner for families all across the country.”
The Obama Administration and other Democrats have championed the need to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25 per hour. The report supports Obama’s proposal while indicating the increase would decrease the wage gap by almost 5%. Movement on this issue though has faced roadblocks from Republicans in Congress as they continue to argue that jobs would be cut if employers had to pay their employees a higher livable wage.
The White House has plans to continue the discussion regarding gender wage inequality nationally leading up to June 23rd where the President will be the guest speaker at the Working Families Summit in Washington D.C.