While politicians -- disproportionately, overwhelmingly men -- continue to squabble over issues that they haven't experienced and don't understand, the ability for women to empower themselves continues to hang in the balance.
The causes for income inequality and the gender pay gap are many and varied, and the solutions should be the same. We, as a nation, cannot just pass one limited pay equality bill and sit on our hands, saying that we fixed the problem.
Pay secrecy policies keep unequal pay hidden from employees and enable pay discrimination to continue. We know this from the story of Lilly Ledbetter - who learned about her decades of unequal pay at Goodyear only via an anonymous note.
As the nation marks Equal Pay Day -- the average date into 2013 women must work to make what men earned in 2012 -- we must recommit ourselves to closing the wage gap. Americans must be about respecting women in deeds, not just in words.
This year, Equal Pay Day falls on April 9. The date symbolically marks the number of extra days, on average, women would have to work in 2013 to earn as much as men did in 2012. Think about that when your alarm clock rings tomorrow. The same amount!
On this Equal Pay Day, we must urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which provides a much-needed update to the Equal Pay Act -- a law that has not been able to achieve its promise of closing the wage gap because of limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies.
A recent Time article titled "The Pay Gap Is Not as Bad as You (and Sheryl Sandberg) Think" suggests that women are either somehow at fault or to blame for earning less than a male for the same job with the same skills, citing that women make poor career choices.
We are inspired every day by the strength and dignity of women who work so hard to make lives better for others. Even in the face of enormous adversity, they refuse to give up. And we refuse to give up on them.
I hope that as we continue this conversation, we do so with the understanding that no one woman's experience is the same, that we all have different choices to make, and that we all have something vitally important to bring to the table.