THIS DAY IN HISTORY – June 10: Equal Pay Act

June 10, 1963 – The Equal Pay Act of 1963 signed into law by President John F. Kennedy

equalpay1

In 1938, the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeded in ushering in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This federal statute introduced a maximum 44-hour, seven-day workweek, established a federal minimum wage and overtime guarantees, and outlawed child labour. The FLSA was one of the key pieces of legislation which underpinned Roosevelt’s Great Depression recovery programme, The New Deal.

A number of ammendments were made to the FLSA over the decades, but one of the most important was the introduction of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) in 1963 which addressed gender-based wage disparity.

I am delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy.  ~ JFK, June 10 1963

In 1963, the U.S. workforce included nearly 25 million women – a third of all U.S. workers. Yet women earned an avequalpay2erage of 59 cents on the dollar compared to their male colleagues. Since the introduction of the EPA 50 years ago, there has been considerable progress on the issue of wage disparity, but arguably not enough. Today. women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and a growing percentage of household breadwinners, yet the wage disparity between women and men has persisted. According to the US Department of Labor, today in America, for every dollar paid to a man, a woman is paid about 77 cents when the calculations are based on annual earnings, (and more like 81 cents based on weekly wages). For minorities, like women of colour and women with disabilities, this disparity is even larger.

-SB

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Posted on June 10, 2014, in History, Politics, The American Presidency and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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