Opinion Pieces

Guest Column: Beyond Equal Pay Day

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Washington, April 2, 2019 | comments

April 2nd is Equal Pay Day, marking how many extra days a woman must work in order to earn as much as her male coworker did in the previous year.  It highlights the unacceptable pay disparity for women in our country, however, Equal Pay Day also gives us the opportunity to celebrate and lift up the ladies in our lives for the incredible things they do.  And that is not something we should limit to one day.  We should support and encourage women and girls each and every day of the year, and I want to thank my boss, Congressman Steve Stivers, for doing just that.

As one of the eight females on his staff, I can personally attest to the positive environment Steve has fostered that allows each member of our team to thrive and succeed.  It’s that same environment that has elevated women to every position on his senior staff, minus one. Our office actually has a reverse pay gap, with women making more than men on average (sorry, gentlemen).

Great, you might think, that’s one office, but what about the thousands of offices across the country where women are still clawing upwards just to be on equal footing with their male coworkers? Why does this matter to me?

It matters because it means that you can trust that when Steve voted against H.R. 7, the House Democrats’ proposal to address gender-based inequality, it isn’t because he subscribes to the archaic and insulting notion that a woman’s work is worth less than a man’s, it’s because it’s a bad bill. More importantly, you can trust that you have someone in your corner who wants to get this right.

Discrimination based on gender has been outlawed since 1963 and the adoption of the Equal Pay Act. Nonetheless, women are still making 80 cents on the dollar, and steps can be taken to close the wage gap, but H.R. 7 is not the answer.  Steve is committed to finding the right answer.

That’s why he cosponsored Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s (R-NY) bill, H.R. 1935, the Wage Equity Act.  This bill would address gender income inequality by giving businesses the tools to self-audit and identify gender-based pay disparities and prohibiting employers from requiring a prospective employee to disclose salary history during the interview process.  The Wage Equity Act would also provide grant funding for the Departments of Labor and Education to provide programming for female students on salary negotiation.

Make no mistake, it outrages me that we still have a day dedicated to highlighting gender discrimination in the year 2019, a century after the 19th Amendment was ratified.  We have work to do to fix this problem, and we have to get this right.  I’m proud to have a boss who understands that and who is not just talking the talk but walking the walk. 

AnnMarie Graham serves as Congressman Steve Stivers’ (R-OH) Communications Director.

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