01/31/2014 12:18 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2014

50 Years Of 'Equal Pay' Lip Service From Presidents


On Tuesday night, President Obama was met with a standing ovation after mentioning in his State of the Union address that women shouldn't get paid less than men, that policies that don't promote pay equality are from the "Mad Men era." Turns out, Presidents have been promising to lift women out of the Mad Men era since, uh, well before the Mad Men era.

The first mention of equal pay during a State of the Union address came from — shock of shocks — a Republican, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1956. And, in 1963, when the fictional Don Draper was busy gallivanting with liberated brunettes behind his suburban housewife Betty's back, President John F. Kennedy was signing the Equal Pay Act. Ever since then, Presidents have issued oratory overtures to the concept of equal pay, but to this day, full economic equality eludes women. It's almost like Presidents sometimes promise things to get women to vote for them with no intention of ever following up on those promises.

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