Right now, if you're a woman in the workforce, it can be surprisingly difficult to answer basic questions about equal pay: what's the typical salary for someone in your position? Should you be asking for more at the negotiating table? What are your fundamental legal rights?
I had to wait more than 10 years before I knew I was being discriminated against. Within a week and a half after Obama was inaugurated, he signed his name to the law that bears mine -- the very first one he enacted.
Exactly four years ago, hardworking folks across the country finally got a pay raise ten years in the making. One of the first laws I helped pass, just a couple of months after joining the Senate, was the Fair Minimum Wage Act. And it became law four years ago today.
More needs to be done to ensure that our policies address persistent discriminatory employment practices, including unequal pay, so that college graduates entering today's workforce have the pay they deserve.
Like Truman, Obama will not be fully appreciated until he is out of office. But, like Truman, he will win re-election. And also like Truman, Obama will one day be considered one of America's great presidents.
The Senate had the opportunity make a real difference in the lives of millions of American women by voting to support the Paycheck Fairness Act, but instead the bill became a victim of partisan gridlock.
Well, it didn't take long. The Republican Party was handed a historic opportunity with women. And yet, this week, the Senate voted 58-41 against allowing debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Not a single Republican voted "yea."
There is no doubt that we need to strengthen equal pay laws, which have been weakened over time in the courts, and to require the federal government to be more proactive in preventing and battling wage discrimination.
Does the dominant equality discourse -- that too often equates equality with a white male standard -- interfere with the hard task of revaluing carework, labor too often associated with unpaid maternal love and familial duty?
During past equal pay days I participated in bake sales where we sold cookies and brownies to men for $1.00 and to women for .75¢. To the irate men I would respond, "Yes, it is maddening -- if you feel this way about a cookie, think about how we feel over a lifetime."
Economic justice is not just a women's issue or a moral issue; it's clearly a legal one. As lawyers, we must promote opportunities and equity in the new economy; we must embrace change and not the historical precedence of gender inequities.
Closing the gender-based wage gap will require broad action, including moving more women into non-traditional jobs, creating opportunities for occupational mobility, and addressing wage discrimination.