Advancing Women's Equality

While women have made many economic, political, and social advances over the last century, our nation still lacks full gender equality.  Pete is committed to protecting and advancing women’s rights, both in the workplace and at home, to ensure full equality for all.

Fighting for Women’s Equality in the Workplace

Over 50 years have passed since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law in an effort to abolish wage disparity based on gender.  Unfortunately, full equality between men and women salaries has yet to be achieved. 

Nationally, women are paid $0.77 for every dollar paid to men.  In Indiana the pay gap is even worse, with women earning $0.73 for every dollar paid to men. This means that on average, Indiana women who are employed full time lose a combined total $10,622,361,414 every year.

This wage gap is not just a women’s issue, but one of fairness and economic growth.  Womens’ success in the workplace means that women are now the breadwinners or the co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children under the age of 18.  Addressing the pay gap is essential to protecting families that now depend on women’s’ income as equally as their male counterparts.

To correct this imbalance and ensure that all families have an equal ability to get ahead, Pete is a proud cosponsor of H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act. This measure would help women fight wage discrimination by:

  • Prohibiting employers from retaliating against workers who discuss salaries with colleagues,
  • Requiring employers to prove that pay differences exist for legitimate, job-related reasons,
  • Strengthening remedies for pay discrimination by allowing women to seek punitive damages for pay discrimination, not just back pay,
  • Establishing a negotiation skills training program for women, and
  • Enhance the ability of the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws.

Previously, in the 111th Congress, Pete supported P.L. 111-2, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers, ensuring that any woman facing unfair treatment can have their day in court.  Specifically, the law overturned the 180-day statute of limitations for women to contest pay discrimination

Protecting Women at Home

Pete is committed to ensuring that all women have access to resources that empower them and protect them against violence.  Pete supported the original enactment of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.  This landmark legislation provided a comprehensive approach to address violence against women by changing attitudes toward domestic violence, fostering awareness of domestic violence, increasing tools for law enforcement to hold offenders accountable, and improving services for victims. 

Most recently, Pete cosponsored legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and was proud to support the enactment of P.L. 113-4, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  In addition to reauthorizing the important federal programs that seek to reduce instances of domestic violence and provide assistance for victims, this new law ensures that all victims of domestic violence receive the protection they need through new protections for Native Americans, legal immigrants, and students on college campuses.

Additionally, through his work as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Pete has pushed for strong funding levels for the Office of Violence Against Women.  In addition to providing leadership for the continued implementation of the Violence Against Women Act, this office provides national leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women. 

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