Equal Pay - : Content

Equal Pay

Women make up a greater part of the workforce than ever before, yet they continue to be paid less than men are for the same and comparable work. Despite the fact that the U.S. Equal Pay Act was signed nearly 50 years ago, American women who work full-time, year-round jobs continue to earn just 77 cents to the man’s dollar.1 In Maine, women earn just 79 cents to the man’s dollar.2 The gap is significantly wider for women of color.3

The Wage Gap Harms Families


This isn’t simply a question of fairness; it’s an economic necessity. Women make up half the nation’s workforce and hold the bulk of consumer spending power that can bolster the state’s economy. That’s why equal pay affects more than just women’s pocketbooks. Women are often the primary breadwinner or the sole breadwinner in a family trying to support children. Equal pay is not only a women’s issue – it's a family issue.

Maine’s Equal Pay Law requires that all employees be paid equally for work of comparable skill, effort, and regardless of their gender. Maine’s 2009 “Act to Ensure Fair Pay” strengthens this law by allowing employees to freely inquire about wage disparities, making it easier for workers to determine if they are receiving fair pay.

We Need To End the Wage Gap, Once and For All

One way to do that is through the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” a federal bill which would strengthen incentives for employers to follow the Equal Pay Law, help women negotiate for fairer pay, and bolster federal outreach and enforcement.

  1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, 2009 Annual Averages and the Monthly Labor Review, November 2009.
  2. National Women’s Law Center, Women’s Lower Wages Worsen their Circumstances In a Difficult Economy, April 2010.
  3. National Committee on Pay Equity, Wage Gap Widens Once Again, May 3, 2010.

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