Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
It's been nearly 50 years since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
Even with the Equal Pay Act in place, a woman who works full time still earns 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. These are national figures that were furnished by the White House this week.
American Indian Women Earn Only 58 cents for Every Dollar
Comparably, American Indian women earn only 58 cents for every dollar earned by a man, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, DC.
While there have been some gains in recent decades for Native women and some do well in some parts of the country, overall American Indian women experience high levels of poverty and low earnings. Many are the sole breadwinners of their homes.
Congress had an opportunity to rectify the situation and close the disparity between men and women yesterday by voting for the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2012.
Incredibly, the US Senate on Tuesday voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act by a vote of 52 to 47. The vote went down party lines with Democrats voting for the Act and Republicans voting against it. One Republican senator abstained. The two Independent senators voted with the Democrats.
The Paycheck Fairness Act was designed to update the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help close the pay gap.
Unfortunately, those voting against Paycheck Fairness Act could not see past partisanship.
Failure to pass this Act continues to hurt Native women who sadly are some of the most vulnerable women in this country.
Women get their opportunity to vote in November for a third of the US Senate. I wonder how they will vote. My US Senator voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act. She will have my vote!
posted June 6, 2012 8:57 am edt