Though it was a landmark moment in the still-unfinished struggle for gender pay equity, the news about President Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963, did not make the front page of The Washington Post. Instead the story about the law ran on the front of the The Post’s “For and About Women” — the decidedly less edgy precursor to The Style section — on June 12, 1963.
President Kennedy hailed the bill as a “first step” that “affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force, they will find equality in their pay envelopes.” But the new law only applied to women working minimum-wage jobs. The president, who used 18 different pens to sign the bill, acknowledged that “much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity — for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men.”
More than five decades later, the gap remains a stubborn problem. In 2015, women earned 83% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time U.S. workers.
The struggle for women continues.
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