WASHINGTON, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding Equal Pay Day:
"It has been nearly half a century since the Equal Pay Act was signed to abolish wage discrimination on the basis of sex. In that time, women from all walks of life have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, patriotism, scientific and artistic vision, and great personal sacrifice – both at home and in the workplace. Still, women continue to earn less than men. As a nation, we continue to work toward the fundamental promise of equal pay for equal work.
"Today, on Equal Pay Day, we reflect on the challenges that millions of women – particularly those of color, single mothers and women with disabilities – continue to face in securing the pay they deserve.
"Women now make up nearly half of the nation's workforce, and 60 percent of all women work full time. In almost two-thirds of families led by single mothers or two parents, mothers are either the primary or co-breadwinner. Pay equity is not simply a question of fairness; it is an economic imperative with serious implications not just for women, but for their families, their communities and our nation. Moreover, when women start at a disadvantage, they stay there.
"Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Department of Labor. We will recognize the achievements of our past and look to a future committed to increasing incomes and education, eliminating wage and income inequality, and putting more women on a path into the middle class.
"Closing the pay gap requires closing the information gap. For more than 90 years, our Women's Bureau has been instrumental in this important effort for women, most recently by hosting a series of dialogues across the country to make sure women are educated about their worth and empowered to advocate for it. We're also working with researchers, experts and the brightest minds in the field of Web technology to create new tools that will make useful information about wages readily accessible to workers.
"Additionally, for more than 45 years now, our Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has been building a strong record of identifying and eliminating gender-based discrimination for federal contractors. Last year, this office successfully resolved 134 cases of employment discrimination affecting women and minorities, resulting in more than $12 million in remedies for victims of discrimination.
"I am proud of the steps we've taken to close the pay gap. But I recognize that we still have so much work to do. This Equal Pay Day, while progress has been made, let us all renew our commitment to advancing the progress of working women and their families. Let us continue to pursue pay equity with both passion and determination."
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor