The Obama Administration's New Proposal Could Be the Key to Closing the Wage Gap

The Obama Administration's New Proposal Could Be the Key to Closing the Wage Gap
Source: AP
Source: AP

President Barack Obama famously began his presidency by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. Now, on the seventh anniversary of doing so, it seems Obama is coming full circle and attempting to close this gap once and for all.

"We knew that our work wasn't done, that we had a lot more to do to close the pay gap between men and women and ensure that no woman would ever face the kind of discrimination that Lilly faced on the job," Obama said at a White House event on Friday.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the Department of Labor will publish a proposal Friday that would require any business of 100 or more employees to collect and submit data about their workers to the federal government, Time reported Friday. This information will be analyzed by race, gender and ethnicity and evaluated for evidence of discriminatory practices, according to the report.

While this proposal could potentially benefit any marginalized worker, it will hopefully particularly contribute to closing the gender wage gap. "This is an issue that's personal for President Obama who has said over and over again that there's no reason why his daughters should be paid less than anyone's sons for doing the same job," White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said Thursday on a press call about the proposal, Time reported.

"All of us have to make sure that all of our young girls know we're invested in their success," the president said.

Yet it's still statistically likely that Sasha and Malia Obama will be paid less than their male counterparts. In 2014, full-time female workers in the United States made 79 cents for every $1 their male counterparts made — and women of color and mothers made even less, according to the American Association of University Women. This wage gap translates to about $10,876 less per year in average earnings for all women across the country, according to the National Women's Law Center, and should it continue at this pace, won't close until 2058, according to a 2015 study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the Daily Beast reported.

The Obama administration's new proposal is hardly the first attempt to counter this unacceptable reality. Legislators have notably combatted this issue on the state level: In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a Fair Pay Act that went into effect this month, following similar legislation signed into law in Vermont and New Mexico in 2013, according to ThinkProgress.

As Obama has said himself multiple times, women deserve equal pay for equal work as well as legislation that ensures this right. This proposal, therefore, seems like a promising sign that Obama is doing all he can to keep his word.

h/t Time

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Julie Zeilinger

Julie Zeilinger is a staff writer at Mic as well as the founder and editor of The FBomb (thefbomb.org), a feminist blog partnered with the Women’s Media Center. She is also the author of "A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word" and "College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year."

MORE FROM

New White House communications director Scaramucci says press briefings should be on-camera

If the new White House communications director gets his way, the press briefings could soon be recorded once again.

At least 8 dead, 30 injured in locked tractor trailer outside Walmart in Texas

Authorities told press that the deaths were caused by "a human trafficking crime."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

New White House communications director Scaramucci says press briefings should be on-camera

If the new White House communications director gets his way, the press briefings could soon be recorded once again.

At least 8 dead, 30 injured in locked tractor trailer outside Walmart in Texas

Authorities told press that the deaths were caused by "a human trafficking crime."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.