"Today, I join women and working families throughout the country to commemorate Equal Pay Day. This day symbolizes the date, three and a half months into the new year, at which the wages paid to women in the United State catch up to the wages paid to men in the previous year.
"It is unbelievable and unacceptable that in the year 2003 we are still marking this wage disparity. Women pay equal taxes, women serve as CEOs of major corporations, and women sacrifice their lives in the line of battle. Yet, 40 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, women are still making 76 cents to every dollar a man makes in the same or comparable work. For women of color, the disparity is even greater -- 65 cents to the dollar for African American women, and only 53 cents for Hispanic women.
"With achievement of women’s economic equality, women who are single heads of household could see their annual income rise by $4,000 and poverty rates could decrease by half. Sadly, the Bush Administration has different priorities, among them tax cuts for the wealthy, rather than helping working families rise up by eliminating wage discrimination.
"My colleagues, Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro and Eleanor Holmes Norton, last week reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act to help address and create remedies for these inequities. We need action on this legislation to aid our working families and to prove to women that we respect and value their work.
"Equal pay for equal work is more than a slogan. It is common sense to fully and fairly compensate women in the workplace. My Democratic colleagues and I will continue to fight for it because women deserve it.
"It is time that women in the job be treated, valued and given the same respect as their male counterparts. It is time that American women get the respect that comes with a fair paycheck. It is time that women get equal pay for equal work."
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