Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement on Equal Pay Day, March 24—the day through which the typical woman would have had to work to earn what the typical man earned the previous year.

In 2019 (the most recent data), the typical woman working full-time, year-round earned 82.3% of what her male counterpart earned (a pay gap of nearly 18%). The gender wage gap is even worse for women of color. On average, Black women earned just 63 cents, Native American women 60 cents and Latinas 55 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earned.

“The gender wage gap can cost women hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a career. It hurts the nation since the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages are also lost GDP. If long-term economic growth is our goal, then closing the gender wage gap is not just a moral imperative, it is an economic one in a nation where two-thirds of mothers are either the primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner in their families.

“It is long past time that Congress pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which House Democrats are moving forward in committee today. By closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Paycheck Fairness Act would make it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination, bringing our nation one step closer to ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages, provides effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work, and requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.

Last week, the JEC Democrats released a Women’s History Month chart pack, which includes charts for Equal Pay Day, as well as others about the economic status of women.