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The League is proud today to join organizations and individuals across the country in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, the landmark legislation that helps prevent wage discrimination by requiring equal pay for equal work for women. The League played a key role in helping support fair pay legislation through its work with the National Committee on Pay Equity in the 1980s as well as the landmark Supreme Court case, Bazemore v. Friday, which ruled on wage discrimination faced by African American men and women.
When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, women were paid just under 60 cents to every dollar paid to men. Fifty years later, the fight for fair pay continues: today’s women are paid an average of just 77 cents to every man’s dollar, and African-American and Latina women face even higher pay gaps. For this reason, state and local Leagues remain active in the fight for pay equity by urging policymakers to support pay equity legislation,rallying their communities to take action, speaking out at their local courthouses and engaging in coalition work.
When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law on June 10, 1963, he underscored the law’s importance, yet made it clear that the legislation was but a “first step” in ensuring women’s economic equity. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, the League honors the accomplishments of its members and partner organizations in working toward fair pay and is reminded that the fight continues.