THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL PAY INEQUITY AWARENESS DAY, 1996
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
More than three decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, women and people of color continue to suffer the consequences of unfair pay differentials. In comparing median weekly earnings, last year American women earned only 75 cents for every dollar a man brought home, with African American women and Hispanic women collecting just 66 cents and 57 cents, respectively. Significant wage gaps exist for African American and Hispanic men, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans as well.
April 11 is the day on which American women's wages for 1996, when added to their entire 1995 earnings, finally equal what men earned in 1995 alone. Unfair pay practices exist at all education levels and in every occupation. Last year, women physicians and lawyers earned substantially less than their male counterparts. The problem is particularly acute in female-dominated professions and in jobs where minority groups are disproportionately represented. Though changing technologies and a growing demand for services have made their positions increasingly vital, America's child care providers, secretaries, textile workers, telephone operators, social workers, and maintenance people are among those who bear the greatest wage discrepancies.
Ensuring fair pay is an essential part of helping women and their families become and remain self-sufficient. According to 1993 data, the vast majority of households depend on the wages of a working mother, and 12 percent of all families are supported by a woman working as the single head of household. Studies show that salary inequities often force women to turn to public assistance to keep a roof over their children's heads and food on the table.
Fair pay equity policies can be implemented simply and without incurring undue costs. Twenty States have already established programs aimed at increasing the wages of employees in female-dominated jobs, and many private sector businesses have implemented voluntary policies. These employers understand that fair pay is an invaluable human resource management tool that helps attract and retain the best workers.
At the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China, the United States joined more than 180 other countries to address problems facing women and to promote workers' basic rights. This was an important step, and we must build on it to further the dialogue about fair pay and treatment in this country. Women and minority workers have long fueled our Nation's progress, and we must do all we can to recognize their achievements and to leave a legacy of equality and justice for their children to cherish.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 11, 1996, as National Pay Inequity Awareness Day. I call upon Government officials, law enforcement agencies, business and industry leaders, educators, and all the people of the United States to recognize the full value of women's skills and contributions to the labor force. I urge all employers to review their wage-setting practices and to see that their employees, particularly women and people of color, are paid fairly for their work.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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