Raising the Minimum Wage Helps Close the Gender-Based Income Gap, Boosts Economy: News of the Day

Aug 15, 2012 Issues: Labor, Wages and Benefits

The National Women’s Law Center yesterday wrote in support of H.R. 6211 The Fair Minimum Wage Act, noting that increasing the minimum wage is a key step toward fair pay for women. The NWLC explains how raising the minimum wage would both boost the economy and help close the gender wage gap:

  • Women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers.
  • A woman working full time, year round at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour earns just $14,500 – more than $3,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.
  • The federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour. Women are nearly two-thirds of workers in tipped occupations.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour would boost earnings for more than 28 million workers, nearly 55 percent of them women, and help close the wage gap.

In 2010, women working full time, year round were paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.  Committee Democrats have championed a number of measures to address gender-based pay inequity.  In 2009, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was enacted to restore women’s ability to fight pay discrimination.  The Paycheck Fairness Act, to strengthen women’s right to equal pay for equal work, was reintroduced last year.  Though it passed the House last Congress, the Paycheck Fairness Act has not been permitted a vote on the House floor this Congress.