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Jackson Calls Equal Pay for Women an Issue of ‘Basic Fairness’

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day that represents how far into the year the average female employee must work to earn what her male counterpart did in the previous year. State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the author of Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, released the following statement:

“Women comprise almost half of California’s workforce, and families depend on women’s income more than ever before. Yet across our state, women’s hard work and true value is not reflected in their paychecks. Women in California continue to earn just 84 cents to every dollar a man earns, and that gap is even wider for women of color. This does not just affect women, it also impacts our families and our state. It means less food on the table, households struggling more than they should, and less money flowing into our economy. Because of the wage gap, our state and our families are missing out on $33 billion a year. But equal pay is also about economic justice for women and basic fairness. The time for equal pay is now, and we all have a stake in building a stronger future for California, one that means fair and equal pay for women."

Women continue to make less than men for doing similar work. In 2013, a woman in California working full time made a median 84 cents to every dollar a man earned, according to Equal Rights Advocates, a national civil rights organization based in San Francisco. This gap is significantly greater for women of color. Latinas in California make only 44 cents for every dollar a white man makes, the most significant Latina wage gap in the nation. As a group, women who are employed full time in California lose approximately $33,650,294,544 every year due to the wage gap.

Jackson’s SB 358 would ensure that women are paid equally for work that is comparable to their male colleagues and do not face retaliation if they discuss or ask about pay at work. If passed and signed into law, it would be the strongest equal pay law in the nation. It will be up for a vote in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on April 22.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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