Unlocking American Economic Potential: Bridging the Gender Wage Gap for Women of all Races and Ethnicities
Mahmud, Rachel L.
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In light of the Women’s March and #MeToo movements, the gender wage gap has risen to the forefront of the American work place after decades of stagnation, and even regression, for women of various races and ethnicities. Black and Latina women experience disproportionate wage inequality and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to bridge the gender wage gap. Furthermore, the United States economy loses a potential $512.6 billion in growth as a result of the gender wage gap. The goal of this policy proposal is to achieve wage equity between women and men of all races and ethnicities for equal work, as well as offer services and incentives that will level the playing field and increase the lifelong income earning potential for women. This will be accomplished through comprehensive legislation that address the wide range of factors that contribute to the gender wage gap. Known as the Fair Opportunities for American Workers Act (FWA), the policy proposal addresses occupational segregation, transparency and availability of salary data, parental leave, and access to affordable childcare. If women earned wages at the same rate as men, 50 percent of American households could be lifted out of poverty. If the wage gap was eliminated for men and women of color, another $2 trillion would be added to the GDP, representing a 14 percent increase in the size of the economy. Despite current political barriers, it is essential that lawmakers push for wage equality legislation that protect civil liberties and contribute to long-term economic growth and prosperity.