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Joint Economic Committee Democrats Chairman - Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

VC Beyer: Gender Wage Gap is a Loss for Women, Families, Economy

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), issued the following statement to mark Equal Pay Day, a date that symbolizes the large disparity between the annual wages earned by a typical (median) man and typical woman. In order for the median woman to earn what the median man did in 2018—the last year for which annual data are available—the median woman would have to work all of 2018 plus January, February and March of 2019.

For additional context, including how the coronavirus could affect the gender wage gap, check out the JEC’s latest brief “Equal Pay Day 2020.”

“The loss in wages as a result of the gender wage gap isn’t just a loss for women and their families, it’s a loss for our economy—year after year we lose out on billions of dollars in economic activity because women don’t make as much as men.

“Currently the typical woman makes about 82 cents for every dollar the typical man makes. The gap is even wider for Black, Latina, and Native American women and could get worse as a result of the coronavirus—in homes and hospitals across the country, women are on the frontlines of fighting the virus since they’re overrepresented in the healthcare industry and still do a disproportionate share of unpaid housework. School and daycare closures will also force many women to stay home even if they can’t afford to.

“By addressing gender wage discrimination, the Paycheck Fairness Act would help close the gender wage gap. However, it has been a year since House Democrats passed this legislation and Senate Republicans—all of whom have mothers and grandmothers, and many of whom have daughters and wives—have still not brought it up for a vote. As an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act who was proud to testify in support of it at a House hearing and vote for passage last year, I only have one question for them: What are you waiting for?

“I look forward to the year when I don’t have to mark this day with a statement, when women don’t have to work three additional months to earn what men did the previous year.”

Last year, Congressman Beyer testified at the House Committee on Education and Labor’s hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and was an original cosponsor of the legislation. The legislation passed the Democratic-controlled House on March 27, 2019, but still hasn’t been taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Congressman Beyer hosts an annual conference in his district focused on women’s empowerment and professional development, featuring advice for women in the workplace from successful businesswomen. He joined with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to hold a gender parity forum in 2017, and worked with her to introduce the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act and the Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act.

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.