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DANIELS: Equal Pay for Women Helps Us All

Lee A. Daniels | 4/16/2014, 3 p.m.
Lee A. Daniels

There is, of course, another way of considering the wage-gap issue beyond playing the Washington political game. That is to consider the questions posed at this column’s beginning. Those figures come from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics setting the overall wage gap between men and women: that women working full-time earn just 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. Republicans claim the figure is so broad in the occupations it includes as to be “misleading.”

But there’s no doubt that an overall gap of at least 5 to 12 cents exists between women and men who do the same work. And there’s no doubt that the wage gap that Black and Latina women endure is far sharper than that of their White counterparts. So, given that mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families, and the primary or sole breadwinners for nearly 40 percent of American families, one would be justified in thinking that—in addition to the principle of fairness—eliminating the wage gap would provide a much-needed income boost to women whose wages sustain their families.

Rep Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn, a sponsor of the bill, said, “This not about women, it is about ensuring families, who are more reliant than ever on women’s wages, are not being shortchanged.”

Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is "Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America."