It’s no surprise that women tend to be hurt first and worst during economic downturns. The reasons may be multifaceted, but one thing is apparent – despite 45 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act – women still earn only 78 cents for every dollar that men earn. The statistics are even worse for women of color. And as we commemorate Equal Pay Day, the point into the year that a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the past year, we must urge Congress to make long-lasting changes.

For too long, women have not been able to bring home all of what they rightfully earn. But there is a legislative solution - the Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill that would finally close the loopholes and weak remedies that have made the Equal Pay Act less effective in combating wage discrimination.

Passing this law is especially critical for the women of Michigan during this economic crisis. And because of the rising unemployment rates, families are relying more than ever on women’s income – making pay equity even more necessary, not only to families’ economic security, but also to the nation's economic recovery.

You can make a difference by taking these easy steps:

  1. Join the ACLU of Michigan’s Action Network.
  2. Call or e-mail your senator. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and have them connect you to your senator. Once connected, tell your senator to end the wage gap and support the Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 182.
  3. Ask five of people in your address book to take action. Ask 5 or more of your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or whoever is part of your social network to call their senators and ask them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  4. Meet with your senators. You can meet with your senator and urge them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 182. Ask him or her to take action by co-sponsoring the bill or supporting the bill with a “yes” vote.

By Rana Elmir, ACLU of Michigan Communications Director