Unequal Pay Is a Community Issue

June 11, 2013

By Stephanie Crandall

On Monday, NLC joined the White House in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. In 1963, when President John F. Kennedy signed the Act with the goal of ending wage disparity based on gender, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned. Fifty years later, President Barack Obama noted women's pay had risen to 77 cents on the dollar, less if a woman is African American or Latina.

Acknowledging that more had to be done to rebuild an America that works for everyone, the President said, "This is not just an issue of fairness. This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue. This is an economic issue."

NLC Women in Municipal Government President Mary Brown, councilwoman, Gary, Indiana agreed, "I applaud the White House's recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. However, in this day, and, in this economy, I find it dismaying that women are yet being discriminated against in terms of equal pay for equal work. Through no fault of our own, we are often being thrust into the role of major breadwinners for our families. This is especially true in those communities, such as mine, and throughout the rest of the country, where major industries have downsized leaving many families without enough income to provide basic necessities-the least of which happens to be health insurance."

Seeking to expand opportunities for economic security, NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families offers a number of programs designed to help city leaders promote financial stability to the families in their communities. For more information, please contact Denise Belser at belser@nlc.org. For information about membership opportunities with NLC's Women in Municipal Government, please contact constituencygroups@nlc.org.