The House approved a bill on Wednesday which is aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap, almost ten years after the issue was dealt with for the last time.
All Democrats voted in favor of the measure and seven of their GOP colleagues supported the bill as well. The passage represents a major victory for the Democratic party, which had made the issue one of the priorities of its “For the People” agenda.
Currently, women earn about 80 cents of the dollar a man makes for the same work, the American Association of University Women said in its 2018 study. The analysis also found that disparities are even sharper among Latinas, who earn only 54 percent of what men make for the same work, and black women, at 63 percent. There were also differences between states, with women in Louisiana and Utah at 70 percent and those in New York at 89 percent.
Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro, who has introduced the bill every year since 1997, called it “a real game changer,” while Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “it’s historic.”
“And that it should happen at a time when we have over 100 women serving in the House of Representatives — that it should happen in the same Congress that we will also observe the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Amendment to have women have the right to vote: it’s all very historic. It’s all about progress,” Pelosi added.
Democratic lawmakers will now try to convince the Senate to vote on the bill, although it is unlikely to pass there as Republicans have long warned that the bill would heighten the risks of lawsuits for businesses, Politico informs.
If enacted, the bill would put an end to discriminatory practices and strengthen further penalties for companies that pay women less, eliminate pay secrecy in workplaces and bar retaliation by employers against workers who discuss their salaries with other employees.