Obama bypasses Congress to promote equal pay for women

Washington, April 9 (IANS/EFE) President Barack Obama resorted Tuesday to an executive order to oblige federal contractors to provide equal pay for women who currently earn less than their male counterparts.

The fact that on average a woman is paid 77 cents for every $1 paid to a man is “wrong” in 2014, Obama said during a White House event.

“And this is not just an issue of fairness. It’s also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce and they’re increasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there,” he said.

The president signed an executive order and a memorandum barring federal contractors from taking reprisals against employees for discussing how much they make and from hiding information on female employees’ salaries.

Obama criticised Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, for again opposing measures that would lead to economic equality and asked Congress to pass a national law to promote wage transparency that will put women at the same pay-level as men.

In February, the president made good on his promise during the State of the Union address to resort to executive orders with an increase of the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for companies with new contracts with the federal government.

“A woman has got to work about three more months in order to get what a man got because she’s paid less. That’s not fair,” Obama said at the White House event, where he was accompanied by Lilly Ledbetter, who took Goodyear to court for having hidden for years the fact that it paid her less than men for bearing the same responsibilities.

–IANS/EFE

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