Thirteen years ago, Lilly Ledbetter became a household name, as the bill named in her honor became the first bill signed into law during the Obama-Biden Administration. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step forward in the fight to close the gender and racial wage gaps that unfairly hold women, especially women of color, back in the workplace, and it underscored the role that equal pay plays in supporting both working families and our broader economy.
We still have work to do to fulfill the promise of equal pay. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this country has depended on frontline workers – in sectors like child care, elder care, home health care, retail, and hospitality – many of whom are women of color and often paid low wages. Even as they have borne the brunt of the health and economic crisis, women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts, denying them hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes.
Vice President Harris and I are committed to using the tools available to us to prevent pay discrimination. I took executive action to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, which goes into effect tomorrow and will significantly benefit women. I also signed an Executive Order to promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the federal workforce, which included a focus on advancing pay equity for federal workers. I continue to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, common sense legislation that would give workers more tools to fight sex-based discrimination and take major steps towards increasing pay transparency.
We will continue working to ensure women aren’t held back in the workplace, by prioritizing equal pay, improving the quality of jobs that are disproportionately held by women, and dismantling the barriers that keep women from fully participating in the labor force—including by making child care more affordable, increasing access to elder care and home health care, and investing in care workers. To boost these efforts, the White House will host a convening on Equal Pay Day later this spring, bringing together partners across the government, non-profit and private sectors to fight for equal pay.
We look forward to coming together to drive progress on equal pay and strengthen the economic security of women and their families across this country.