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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 11, 2000

Today, on National Equal Pay Day, Clinton will announce several new measures that seek to narrow the wage gap for women, particularly in high-tech fields. The President will release a new Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report on the wage gap in the new economy, focusing on information technology fields. The report emphasizes that one way to narrow the wage gap is to recruit and train women for high-tech, high-paying jobs. In order to help narrow the wage gap for women, the President will announce that under his budget, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will invest $20 million to remove barriers to career advancement for women scientists and engineers. The President also will announce a new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Task Force on Equal Pay. Finally, the President will call on Congress to support his $27 million Equal Pay Initiative and to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act in order to combat unfair pay practices against women. Equal Pay Day is the day on which American women's wages, added to their previous year's earnings, equal what men make in just one calendar year.

CEA REPORT ON THE WAGE GAP IN THE NEW ECONOMY. The President today will announce a new CEA report on women's progress in the new economy, focusing on information technology (IT) fields. The report shows that employment in certain occupations in the IT industry, such as computer scientists, programmers, and operators, has grown over 80 percent since 1983. However, women are underrepresented in these higher-paying, high-tech jobs -- representing 29 percent of the sector, compared to 47 percent of all employed workers. Finally, the report demonstrates that the wage gap in these IT occupations, after controlling for education, age, and occupation, is about 12 percent -- a gap similar to that estimated for the labor market more generally. The wage gap narrows significantly as education level rises, leading CEA to conclude that one pivotal way to narrow the gap is to encourage employers and others to recruit and train women for these high-paying, high-tech jobs.

ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO STUDY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. President Clinton today will also highlight a new FY2001 budget initiative under which the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide $20 million in grants to post-secondary institutions and partner organizations to promote the full participation of women in science and technology fields. The President will also announce a Department of Energy (DOE) web page that will feature women in science, engineering, and technology at DOE, and will detail DOE's efforts to help women achieve their professional goals through recruitment and employee development programs.

EEOC EQUAL PAY TASKFORCE. The President will also announce that the EEOC will create a new Task Force to ensure that EEOC field staff have the full range of legal, technical and investigatory support they need to effectively investigate charges of pay discrimination and to take appropriate action where discrimination has occurred. This Task Force's mission will be to provide up-to-date information on: (1) the law regarding unlawful compensation discrimination; (2) statistical analysis of compensation systems; and (3) non-statistical investigatory methods.

PRESIDENT CALLS ON CONGRESS TO SUPPORT EQUAL PAY. Finally, the President today will today on Congress to support his $27 million Equal Pay Initiative, which will help the EEOC and Labor Department fight wage discrimination. The Initiative includes $10 million for the EEOC to (1) provide, for the first time, training and technical assistance to about 3,000 employers on how to comply with equal pay requirements under the law; (2) develop public service announcements to educate employees and employers on their rights and responsibilities under equal pay laws; and (3) train over 1,000 EEOC staff in identifying and responding to wage discrimination. The Initiative also provides $17 million for DOL to (1) train women in nontraditional jobs including in the high technology industry; (2) fund projects to increase women's participation in non-traditional apprenticeships; and (3) provide employers with the necessary assistance to assess and improve their pay policies; and continue to educate the public on the importance of equal pay. The President will also urge Congress to pass the "The Paycheck Fairness Act," introduced by Senator Tom Daschle and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, to strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination. The highlights of this legislation include a new data collection provision; increased penalties under the Equal Pay Act (EPA); a non-retaliation provision; and a provision for increased training, research, and pay equity award.