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50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act

Statement of Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, June 10, 2013 – 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act: “Much has changed for working women since 1963. For example, “help wanted” advertisements directed to applicants of a specific sex are no longer commonplace. Women are about half of the paid workforce today, but in 1963 only 25 percent of married women with children and 35 percent of all women worked outside the home. And in January of this year, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted combat restrictions on women in the nation’s Armed Forces, ending one of the most pervasive sex-based occupational exclusions in the 21st century workforce. The EEOC has recovered millions of dollars for victims of unlawful pay discrimination since we opened our doors in 1965. In just one case — EEOC and Schieffelin v. Morgan Stanley &Company, Inc.. — the agency negotiated a $54 million settlement of a lawsuit alleging that women were paid less than similarly situated men. The Commission has also issued enforcement guidance on unlawful disparate treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities and on the application of equal pay laws to top employees of collegiate athletic programs. And as part of the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force created by President Obama in 2010 to “crack down on violations of equal pay laws,” we collaborate regularly with our federal government partners, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel. For example, since the Task Force was formed, EEOC conducted training programs that reached more than 2,000 employees of federal, state and local governments, with the goal of improving identification, investigation and remediation of pay discrimination.”

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