The Biden administration is making the case Wednesday that the pay disparity between men and women has hurt the economy, highlighting a push to help set new goals for equality.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday convened a roundtable discussion on Equal Pay Day with women leaders of advocacy organizations.
In remarks before reporters, Harris called for employers to adopt transparency over employee wages. Harris said individual women should not be fighting for equality on their own, but that the issue called for “national attention with collective action.”
Wednesday marked “Equal Pay Day” — which is how far into the year women must work on average to make up the pay disparity between what men and women earned the prior year. The Census Bureau estimates that a woman working full-time would earn about 82 cents for each dollar paid to a man.
The pay gap impacts the entire economy in ways that exacerbate other issues such as racial inequality. The National Women’s Law Center found that Black women earn just 63 cents for a dollar paid to a non-Hispanic white man, while Hispanic women make only 55 cents. That difference translates into a loss of roughly $1 million in income over a lifetime.
The Biden administration is pushing several policies to help narrow the gap. It backs the Paycheck Fairness Protection Act, which would enhance a 1963 law by improving employer’s transparency on wages, require employers to show that any discrepancies are because of job qualifications and prevent employers from retaliating against workers who express concerns about pay disparities.
The administration also supports paid family leave and greater access to child care. A February research paper from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that the pandemic caused mothers to disproportionately leave the job market, as many lacked in-class school and child care options. The paper noted that a flexible work schedule would likely make life easier for mothers with jobs.
Harris was joined by Cecilia Rouse, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Heather Boushey, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers.