According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, nationally, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men and this gap is even more pronounced for women of color – black women earn 63 cents and Hispanic women earn 54 cents as compared to white men. This economic injustice affects not only women, but every man and child who has a woman in their lives.

The National Partnership for Women and Families estimates that women’s earnings in Connecticut would increase by $15 billion per year if women earned equal pay. Imagine how pay parity would aid the 170,000 Connecticut families headed by women. If Connecticut women earned the same as men, the poverty rate in our state would be cut by more than half. Additional spending and tax revenue would strengthen our state economy and help businesses too.

Recently, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill to help remediate this huge inequity. HB 5591, An Act Concerning Pay Equity in the Workforce, if passed by the Senate, would broaden the standard by which you can demonstrate pay discrimination, prohibit your salary history from being used against you in court, and prevent wage discrimination for those who take time off to bond with a new baby, or to care for a loved one. Unfortunately, a provision to prevent employers from asking applicants about their salary history was removed from the bill. Salary histories have been used to perpetuate an unequal playing field where a woman’s history of lower pay is used to justify a lower starting salary than an employer would otherwise be willing to pay.

Call your State Senator today and say that you want CT to pass a strong law that guarantees pay equity and restores the prohibition on salary history.

Susan Eastwood lives in Ashford.

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