Obama calls for end to gender pay gap

Posted on April 15, 2016

WASHINGTON -- US President Barack Obama on Tuesday made an impassioned plea for equal pay for men and women in the workplace -- a gender gap that is far from being closed.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) women host an Equal Pay Day event with a lemonade stand where women pay 79 cents per cup and men pay $1 per cup, to highlight the wage gap, on April 12 in Washington, DC. -- AFP
“Equal pay for equal work should be a fundamental principle of our economy,” Mr. Obama said, on what he has designated National Equal Pay Day.

“It’s a simple idea. It’s a simple principle,” he said at a ceremony dedicating a new national women’s equality monument at a Washington home that once housed the National Woman’s Party. “But, it’s one where we still fall short.”

“Today, the typical woman who works full-time earns 79 cents for every dollar that a typical man makes. And, the gap is even wider for women of color.”

The National Woman’s Party was created by Alice Paul, a suffragist who fought through much of the 20th century for “women’s political, social, and economic equality, not just in the United States but also internationally,” Mr. Obama said in the proclamation establishing the monument.

Saluting the role played by the suffragists who worked from the Sewall-Belmont House, located not far from Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court, Mr. Obama said he hoped the newly established monument would become a symbol of women’s rights.

“I want young girls and boys to come here, 10, 20, 100 years from now, to know that women fought for equality; it was not just given to them,” Mr. Obama said.

“I want them to come here and be astonished that there was ever a time when women could not vote. I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women earned less than men for doing the same work,” he added.

“I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women were vastly outnumbered in the boardroom or in Congress, that there was ever a time when a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.”

“I don’t know how long it will take to get there, but I know we’re getting closer to that day,” he said.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, who is vying to become America’s first female commander-in-chief, has made equal pay for equal work one of the themes of her campaign.

On Tuesday, she released a video on Twitter showing an exchange she had with a young girl at a rally on the issue.

“Do you think when you’re president you’ll be paid as much as if you were a man?” the girl asked Ms. Clinton, sparking laughter in the crowd.

“This is one of the jobs where they have to pay you the same,” the former US secretary of state replied.

“But, there are so many examples where that doesn’t happen. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure every woman in every job gets paid the same as the men who are doing that job.” -- AFP