Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Importance Of Advancing Legislation To Address The Gender Pay Gap This Week

June 7, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the need to advance paycheck fairness legislation this week. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Tomorrow, the Senate will decide whether to take up legislation to address the gender pay gap.

Right now in America, women earn roughly 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. The gap is even wider for women of color. Even when you account for educational attainment, Black and Latina women earn only 65% to 70% of what a white man makes with the same degree, whether it’s a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree. Many women with advanced degrees actually make less than their male counterparts who don’t have them.

So looking at the facts, women with the same jobs, same degrees — sometimes better degrees than their male colleagues -- are making less money. That is the very definition of gender discrimination and it’s holding back women in every industry and area of the country.

The pandemic has only made matters worse. Faced with impossible choices between careers and child care, women have fallen out of the workforce at an alarming rate. By one measure, the COVID-19 pandemic has set women’s labor force participation back by more than 30 years, leading some economists to describe the 2020 year not as a “recession” but a “She-cession.”

So there is a lot of work to do, to not only recover from a devastating year for women in the workplace, but also establish an equal playing field where women are paid for what they deserve.

Senate Democrats have put forward a bill that would make it much easier for women to petition for pay equity. It doesn’t mandate that employers set wages at a certain level; it doesn’t have the government reach into the private sector; it merely makes it easier for women to overcome pay discrimination.

In my view, this straightforward, unobjectionable piece of legislation should merit bipartisan support and should not require changes. All fifty Democratic Senators are co-sponsors of the bill. All fifty.

Will our Republican colleagues step up to the plate and join us tomorrow to advance this commonsense legislation?