Gender inequality is an unfortunate reality that negatively impacts much of American society. Result America’s oppressive patriarchal roots, the average woman earns only 79 cents for every dollar that the average man makes. This pay gap is not solely an issue of gender inequality; African American women only make 64 cents for every dollar, 59 cents for Native American women, and 56 cents for Hispanic women. Though the pay gap has narrowed slightly over the past few years, much more work must be done to ensure that everyone is paid fairly.
The first piece of legislation that President Obama ever signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, clarified that discriminatory compensation is illegal. Because this act was Obama’s first signed law, his commitment to creating a more equal economic and social environment for women is evident. Policies that ensure fair pay not only narrow the gender pay gap, but also boost the productivity and strength of the economy while attracting the strongest talent to business positions.
Building upon the values of his early administration, President Obama announced an Equal Pay Pledge at the first-ever United State of Women Summit. This pledge was signed by 28 leading American businesses that are committed to closing the gender pay gap. In addition to pledging to play a critical role in closing the gender pay gap, these businesses agreed to conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis, in addition to identifying and promoting the best ways to ensure fairness for all workers.
On Women’s Equality Day, Friday, August 26, an additional 29 companies signed the pledge, bringing the total amount of supporters to over 50 companies. The commitment comes from a wide variety of businesses, including Apple, CVS, Facebook, Target, and Visa. By promoting the importance of gender equality, these employers are slowly helping improve the social and economic status of women in America.