Barack Obama photo

Remarks During a Conference Call on Wage Equality

June 04, 2012

Hey, guys, thanks for joining the call. As Valerie just said, and I know everybody has been talking about, tomorrow Congress is going to have a chance to vote on the "Paycheck Fairness Act." I don't have to tell you how much this matters to families across the country. All of you are working day in, day out, to support the basic principle, equal pay for equal work.

And we've made progress. But we've got a lot more to do. Women still earn just 70 [77]* cents for every dollar a man earns. It's worse for African American women and Latinas. Over the course of her career, a woman with a college degree is going to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who is doing the same work.

So at a time when we're in a make-or-break moment for the middle class, Congress has to step up and do its job. If Congress passes the "Paycheck Fairness Act," women are going to have access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work. If they don't, if Congress doesn't act, then women are still going to have difficulty enforcing and pressing for this basic principle.

And we've got to understand, this is more than just about fairness. Women are the breadwinners for a lot of families, and if they're making less than men do for the same work, families are going to have to get by for less money for childcare and tuition and rent, small businesses have fewer customers. Everybody suffers.

So that's why we moved forward with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That's why I established a National Equal Pay Task Force to help crack down on violations of equal pay laws. Earlier this year, the Department of Labor announced the winners of a national competition for equal pay apps that give women interactive tools and key information to help them determine if they're getting paid fairly.

So we're going to be releasing this afternoon a formal administration policy message supporting the "Paycheck Fairness Act," and we're going to call on Congress to do the right thing. But let's face it. Congress is not going to act because I said it's important; they're going to act because you guys are making your voices heard. So Senators have to know you're holding them accountable. Everything that they're going to be hearing over the next 24 hours can make a difference in terms of how they vote.

We've got a long way to go, but we can make this happen, and together, we can keep moving forward. So let's make sure hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded.

I appreciate everything you guys do. And I'm going to turn over the call to Cecilia Munoz, who is going to describe the "Paycheck Fairness Act" in more detail. All right?

Thanks, everybody. Bye-bye.

Note: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Senior Adviser to the President Valerie B. Jarrett, in her capacity as Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls; and Cecilia Munoz, Director, Domestic Policy Council.

* White House correction.

Barack Obama, Remarks During a Conference Call on Wage Equality Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives