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Taking New Actions to Ensure Equal Pay

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Thursday, May 11, 2000


"Equal pay is about more than dollars and cents. It's about right and wrong, because it's wrong when women still earn about 75 cents for every dollar earned by a man in the same line of work; it's wrong that average female workers have to work an extra 17 weeks to catch up to the wages of average male workers."

President Bill Clinton
Thursday, May 11, 2000

Today at the White House, on National Equal Pay Day, President Clinton released a new report by his Council of Economic Advisers on the wage gap in the new economy, particularly in the field of information technology. The President announced several new measures to narrow the wage gap for women, including a $20 million investment by the National Science Foundation in his FY2001 budget to remove barriers to career advancement for women scientists and engineers, and a new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Task Force on Equal Pay. The President also renewed his call to Congress to support his $27 million Equal Pay Initiative and to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to combat unfair pay practices against women.

Releasing a New Report on the Wage Gap. The CEA report announced today, “Opportunities and Gender Pay Equity in New Economy Occupations,” outlines women's progress in the new economy, particularly in the field of information technology. Major findings of the report include:

  • Employment in certain IT occupations, such as computer scientists, programmers, and operators, has grown by more than 80 percent since 1983;
  • Women are underrepresented in the IT field: fewer than one out of three of these higher-paying, high-tech jobs are filled by women; and
  • The wage gap in these IT jobs (after controlling for education, age, and occupation) is about 12 percent, similar to the gap estimated for the general labor market.

The report concludes that one pivotal way to narrow the wage gap is to encourage employers and others to recruit and train women for careers in IT.

Proposing New Measures to Promote Equal Pay. Today – Equal Pay Day – is the day on which American women's wages, added to their previous year's earnings, equal what men make in just one calendar year. To commemorate Equal Pay Day, the President announced new actions to help bridge the wage gap:

  • A new FY2001 budget initiative under which the National Science Foundation will provide $20 million in grants to post-secondary institutions and partner organizations to promote the full participation of women in science and technology fields; and
  • A new equal pay task force under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to ensure that EEOC field staff have the full range of support they need to effectively investigate charges of pay discrimination and to take appropriate action where discrimination has occurred

Calling on Congress to Support Equal Pay. The President renewed his call to Congress to send the message that wage discrimination is unacceptable by:

  • Supporting his $27 million Equal Pay Initiative, which will help end wage discrimination by educating employers and employees on their rights and responsibilities under equal pay laws, and by training women in non-traditional jobs including in the high technology industry; and
  • Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination

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