State Reps. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) today during a Statehouse news conference introduced the Ohio Equal Pay Act, legislation to recognize the full value and potential of Ohio’s working women. The announcement comes as advocates mark ‘Equal Pay Day’ across America, the date to which women must work to make up for the lost wages relative to their male counterparts.
“Ohio’s gender wage gap continues to hold back women, families and our economy. We can’t get ahead as a state if half of our workforce is undervalued and underpaid,” said Rep. Howse. “We need real, commonsense reforms to restore our promise as an opportunity state where everyone who works hard, regardless of gender, has a shot at the American Dream.”
The Ohio Equal Pay Act would:
-Prohibit gag orders on employees that keep them from talking about their salaries with one another.
-Require vendors who do business with the state to obtain an Equal Pay Certificate, certifying that women at the companies are given equal opportunity for career advancement.
-Require government entities to evaluate their employees’ pay scales to ensure compensation is based on skills, responsibilities and working conditions across job categories.
“It is long past time to empower women in the workplace to be what they are—equal,” said Rep. Clites. “Closing the gap ensures better lives, brighter futures and the opportunity for Ohio women and families to get ahead and save for the future.”
The average woman in Ohio earns 78 cents to every $1 a man makes, regardless of educational background and job description. For minority women, the discrepancy is worse. Nationally, Black women are paid only 61 cents and Latina women are paid 53 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women currently comprise half the U.S. workforce, and two-thirds of mothers bring home at least a quarter of their families’ earnings each year.
After receiving a bill number, the Ohio Equal Pay Act will be assigned to a committee for its initial hearings.
Here’s what other Democratic lawmakers are saying:
“The wage gap doesn’t just hurt working women, it also affects their families and local communities. As long as pay discrimination persists, we are cheating families out of their full earning potential. We must do better to restore Ohio’s promise of equal opportunity for everyone.” –Assistant Minority Leader and state Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus)
“I am proud to support legislation that helps put money back into the pockets of hardworking women and families. It’s unacceptable that in 2019, women aren’t earning the same as men who work the same job. Passing legislation that supports women, strengthens families and ultimately grows our economy is how we get Ohio back on the right path.” –Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights)
“No one should face extra economic challenges or instability simply because of their gender. If you work hard, you should be able to get ahead. We need to ensure everyone has a fair shot at career opportunity and advancement, regardless of gender.” –Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus)