Hillary Clinton takes on the gender pay gap: 'There's no discount for being a woman'

Clinton On Pay Gap: No Discounts for Being Women
Clinton On Pay Gap: No Discounts for Being Women

Hillary Clinton spoke in New York City Tuesday morning as part of an event marking this year's Equal Pay Day.

The front-runner for the Democratic nomination participated in the Glassdoor Pay Equality Roundtable and took on America's gender wage gap by addressing what the country needs to do to close it. Equal Pay Day is held on the date each year that women's earnings catch up to men's previous year's income.

"It's important to make the point that the failure to ensure equal pay for women also impacts families and the broader economy," Clinton said during her opening remarks. "It devalues the work that women do."

Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which attempted to abolish wage and workplace disparities between the sexes, however major differences in pay for men and women who perform the same jobs still exist.

U.S. Census data states that women nationwide earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. A study by Glassdoor yielded similar results, finding that men make an average of 24.1 percent more than women in the U.S. The study, which analyzed 505,000 salaries, found that the pay gap varies from industry to industry, but in most cases women are only earning 76 cents to every dollar a man makes.

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The former secretary of state was joined on stage Tuesday by Glassdoor co-founder and CEO Robert Hohman, as well as Executive Director of The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, President of the Gap Foundation Dan Henkle, member of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Megan Rapinoe and Tracy Sturdivant, co-founder and co-executive director of Make It Work.

The roundtable, moderated by award-winning journalist Diane Brady, touched on several topics surrounding the gender pay gap, including why it exists and what we can do to close the gap.

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Clinton addressed certain myths about equal pay, saying "there is still a lot of misinformation out there."

She called attention to not only the gender wage gap, but additional factors like race, education and location that also effect women's pay. Glassdoor research found that African-American women only earn only 64 cents, and Latinas just 56 cents, for every dollar white men earn.

The gender pay gap in America is widest in rural states and smallest in urban areas, a Congressional report recently found.

"And the last time I checked, there's no discount for being a woman," Clinton said. "Groceries don't cost us less, rent doesn't cost us less, so why should we should we be paid less?"

As one of five members of the U.S. Women's National Team who recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against U.S. Soccer Federation, Rapinoe said she and her teammates knew they weren't paid as much as the men's team, but they didn't know how drastic the numbers were until just recently.

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"We've known about the contracts of the men's soccer team for a long time. Transparency was the tipping point for us," the Olympic Gold Medalist said. "This year, after winning the World Cup and doing the victory tour, we were still grappling with the knowledge, but we didn't have the numbers. It was late February or early March when they released all these numbers, and we saw we were actually in the black by $17 million."

The midfielder added that the profit was made without the funds they needed as a team -- "so imagine with the investment."

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President Obama spoke in January on the seventh anniversary of the Ledbetter Act -- the first bill Obama signed into law as president.

"Women are not getting the fair shot we believe every single American deserves," Obama said in January. "What kind of example does paying women less set for our sons and daughters?"

By: Carrie Healey

Originally published