Democratic Women Stand up for Equal Pay for Equal Work
Senators Hudak, Nicholson, Newell, Aguilar, Tochtrop, Williams, Schwartz, Giron, and Guzman all wore red today to support Equal Pay Day
DENVER─ Today, the Senate rallied behind a bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) and Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) to designate April 17 as Equal Pay Day and acknowledged the persistent problem of wage inequality. Senate Joint Resolution 35 recognizes that women and people of color continue to be paid less than their male and white counterparts for the same work, and encourages government agencies, labor organizations, nonprofits, and employers to take action.
In Colorado, although more than 200,000 households are headed by women, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that working women earned only 79 percent of the earnings of working men. Disparities were even greater for women of color who were earning even less, and as women age, the pay gap continues to widen. It is estimated that over a lifetime wage disparities are costing a Colorado working women $429,000 in lost wages, impacting Social Security revenues and destabilizing families.
Senator Aguilar offered the following comment on Senate Joint Resolution 35 today:
“Wage inequality affects everyone because it creates injustice, hurts our economy, and negatively impacts Colorado families. This is a serious problem, but by raising awareness we can continue working to close the pay gap and ensure that everyone is compensated fairly for their work.”
Senator Giron offered the following comment on Senate Joint Resolution 35 today:
“Although statistics show us that women are earning more degrees than men they are still not being paid as well. As lawmakers we should be working to combat inequality in all of its forms, and ensuring that people’s wages reflect their performance and not their gender or the color of their skin.”
This legislation is sponsored in the House by Representative Laura Bradford (R-Collbran) and Representative Cherylin Peniston (D-Westminster).
Below is the full text of Senate Joint Resolution 35:
WHEREAS, Nearly forty-nine years after the passage of the "Equal Pay Act of 1963" and Title VII of the "Civil Rights Act", women and people of color continue to suffer the consequences of inequitable pay differentials; and
WHEREAS, According to numbers released in 2011 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-round, full-time Colorado working women in 2010 earned only 79% of the earnings of year-round, full-time working men, indicating little change or progress in pay equity; and
WHEREAS, Over 208,000 households in Colorado are headed by women, and nationally about one-third of employed mothers are the sole bread winners for their families; and
WHEREAS, According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 women of color experienced even greater pay disparities, with Colorado African-American women earning only 65% and Colorado Latinas earning only 56% of the earnings of the highest wage earners; and
WHEREAS, Men of color also experience disparities when their pay is compared to that of the highest earners; and
WHEREAS, As women get older, the pay gap widens significantly; according to the American Association of University Women, one year after graduating college women earn only 80% of what their male counterparts earn, and ten years after graduation women earn only 69% of what men earn; and
WHEREAS, Over a working lifetime, wage disparities cost the average Colorado woman and her family an estimated $429,000 in lost wages, also impacting Social Security benefits and pensions; and
WHEREAS, Fair pay equity policies can be implemented simply and without undue costs or hardship in both the public and private sectors; and
WHEREAS, There exists a strong business and public interest case for pay equity; and
WHEREAS, Fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy; and
WHEREAS, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, symbolizes the time in the new year in which the wages paid to American women catch up to the wages paid to men from the previous year; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-eighth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein:
That we, the members of the Colorado General Assembly:
(1) Proclaim Tuesday, April 17, 2012, to be "Equal Pay Day" in the state of Colorado; and
(2) Urge governmental agencies, nonprofit and labor organizations, businesses, and individuals to take steps to implement fair pay equity policies to help close the pay gap for Colorado's women and people of color.