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According to the U.S. Labor Force, women make up nearly half of the workforce. They are significantly contributing to our workplaces and our economy, yet collectively they are not earning equitable salaries. In 2014, U.S. women working full-time jobs earned only 79 percent of what men made in the same positions. African-American women earned 64 cents and Latina women earned 56 cents for every dollar earned by Caucasian men in the same positions.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that men and women in the workplace be given equal pay for equal work. And the Virginia Equal Pay Act “prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex when paying for work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and that is performed under similar working conditions.”

In Virginia, we must proactively address the gender pay gap because it creates a critical deficiency within our economy. It is not fair, and it is not a good business practice. However, if we work on solutions, together we can ensure that the New Virginia Economy is a reality and that Virginia is effectively positioned for the future.

We cannot allow this to be a future Virginia issue. It must be addressed today. The sooner we can close the gap, the sooner we will see the realization of the New Virginia Economy that attracts and sustains an effective, diverse workforce.

Michael L. Hamlar

Step Up Virginia

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