Vermont Democratic Party Communications Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2016
Statement by State Treasurer Beth Pearce on the 7th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
“The following is a statement by State Treasurer Beth Pearce:
January 29th, marks the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - a landmark bill signed by President Obama aimed at guaranteeing equal pay for equal work across genders. And while this was a strong step in the right direction and a needed public acknowledgement of the disparity that exists, it’s been 7 years, and more needs to be done.
In Vermont we value a job well done. We believe that those who work hard deserve compensation and that the compensation should be fair and equal across genders. But the paychecks women in this state take home compared to men do not reflect this. Right now, Vermont women make about 84 cents to every dollar Vermont men make. That translates to an average yearly income of $46,911 for men and $39,322 for women (AAUW, 2014).
This gap isn’t just numbers on a page. This has a real impact for our families across the state. Female workers may have a harder time paying off the student loans they took on to get the high-skilled jobs we’re working to foster in Vermont. They may have less financial flexibility to invest in a pension plan that will help guarantee them dignity in retirement. And for the single parent households in this state, single moms are bringing home an average of $5,000 less to help support their kids.
The lack of security and opportunity that the gender wage gap creates doesn’t just affect the wage-earner, it has consequences for our state’s entire economy. From the amount invested back into state businesses through the purchase of goods and services, to the level of reliance families have on state programs that need to be funded with tax dollars, equal pay is just good public policy.
As we kick off 2016, it’s time to speak up and make sure this issue gets the attention it deserves. Vermont is currently ranked 10th in the nation on the equal pay issue: not the best, not nearly the worst. But we can do better. This should not be a partisan issue, but a matter of both good economics and fairness. In a state where we believe we are at our strongest when we give equal opportunity and equal recognition for those who show up and work hard, we need to make sure we’re holding up our end of the bargain with Vermont women.”