Posts Tagged ‘Department of Justice’

White House Equal Pay Task Force ReportAAUW applauds the White House’s release of a progress report detailing the activities of the president’s Equal Pay Task Force. The report was released along with a presidential proclamation to mark April 17 as Equal Pay Day, the day women’s earnings finally catch up to what men made last year. The task force was created in 2010, and their report showed the group’s achievements to date on a host of equal pay and workplace sex-based discrimination issues.

In a tough economy, technical assistance to employers and civil rights enforcement are especially critical. Right now, most women are just relieved if they have work. They’re worried they might jeopardize their jobs if they ask too many questions, making them that much more vulnerable to pay discrimination.

The task force’s progress report noted areas in which they have been actively promoting full compliance with equal pay laws, working cross-departmentally to address gender pay disparities. AAUW is pleased to see special attention paid to enforcement and litigation efforts at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as increased interagency cooperation between EEOC, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the Department of Justice. Of particular note, OFCCP has evaluated the pay practices of more than 10,000 federal contractors, helping to ensure a fair shot at equal pay for more than 4.3 million workers.

AAUW is excited by the administration’s commitment to addressing pay discrimination. We hope they continue to use the bully pulpit to remind employers and employees of the centrality of the issue. After all, we’re all in this together – and when women aren’t paid equally, their families and entire communities suffer.

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Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and play a vital role in the nation’s economy. Yet women, on average, make less on the dollar than men, and the gap is even greater for women of color and women with disabilities. Lower pay means less economic security not only for women but also for the families who depend on them.

Join us for a Twitter chat about equal pay for women on Friday, April 20, at noon EDT by following the hashtag #EqualPayChat.

You’ll be able to ask equal opportunity experts questions about the current pay gap and how to equip women with the necessary resources to make informed career decisions. During the discussion, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will also discuss its new Equal Pay App Challenge.

Department of Labor (@USDOL) Women’s Bureau Director Sara Manzano-Díaz and Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Patricia Shiu will host this conversation along with National Equal Pay Task Force partners from the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They will also welcome special guests Lisa Maatz (@LisaMaatz), public policy and government relations director from AAUW, and Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) Vice-Chair and App Challenge judge Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess).

You can send your questions before or during the event via Twitter to @USDOL using the hashtag #EqualPayChat or by e-mail before the event to womensbureaunetwork@dol.gov.

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The Obama administration will release its budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 in the next few weeks. This will be the first budget proposed since last summer’s agreement to raise the debt ceiling, which committed the federal government to reducing spending by $1 trillion over the next decade. No doubt the new budget will receive a chilly reception from Congress, which will likely attempt to cut funding for many federal agencies, particularly those charged with protecting our rights. AAUW urges the administration to defend Americans’ civil rights by fully funding government agencies that protect and enforce those rights and by opposing congressional attempts to cut funding for these important programs.

AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination and supports constitutional protection for the civil rights of all individuals. Adequate enforcement of all civil rights laws requires full funding and staffing of federal civil rights agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs, and the civil rights divisions of various departments — especially the Department of Education and the Department of Justice.

These offices should be given the resources necessary to pursue their work. Some key initiatives include clarifying Title IX protections against the sexual harassment, assault, and bullying of students as well as updating affirmative action guidelines for federal contractors, developing a compensation data-collection tool to investigate wage discrimination, and adopting protections for pregnant workers and parents. In this economy, it is critical that the government make civil rights enforcement a priority because many workers are too scared to speak up for themselves in the workplace.

Americans deserve fair pay, equal access to education and employment, and vigorous protection of their civil rights. The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund has worked for decades to combat sex discrimination in education and in the workplace. Additionally, the AAUW Action Fund has launched My Vote, a nationwide voter education and turnout campaign. Women wield great power in America, and our voices will be heard in 2012. More than ever before, women are registering to vote and casting ballots in greater numbers and with more consistency than men. We are a powerful and influential bloc of voters. The national budget should reflect women’s priorities — including full funding for civil rights enforcement.

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