Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center

Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to building a better world for women and girls. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.

Ensure equal pay for women
In the last two decades, the gender pay gap has barely moved. Today, women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work, earning on average just 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This gap—which is even wider for women of color—exists in every state, regardless of geography, occupation, education or work patterns. Pay inequity not only affects women; it affects children and families and our economy.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work. Along with other key civil rights laws that followed, it helped change the workplace and began to combat wage inequality—but these laws have not been updated in decades and have not closed the persistent gap between women’s and men’s wages.

The bipartisan and bicameral Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 728 and H.R. 17) would eliminate loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, breaking harmful patterns of pay discrimination and strengthening workplace protections for women. Specifically, it will:

  • Protect employees against retaliation for discussing salaries with their coworkers.
  • Prohibit employers from screening job applicants based on their salary history or requiring salary history during the interview and hiring process.
  • Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.
  • Provide employees who file sex-based wage discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act with the same remedies as are available to employees who file race- or ethnicity-based wage discrimination claims under the Civil Rights Act.
  • Remove obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate employees' participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination.
  • Create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls.

“When we talk about the wage gap, we are ultimately talking about huge, life-changing amounts of pay that women are being cheated out of,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who reintroduced the legislation. “Women are paying the price of inaction, and we have to put a stop to sexist pay practices—for good.”

Achieving pay equity is included among President Biden’s gender equality priorities. Please use our pre-drafted letters to urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Paycheck Fairness Act. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks. 

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