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Closing The Gender Wage Gap

Reported: Apr. 8, 2014 11:10 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - President Obama took aim at the gender gap between men and women, and signed two orders today. It should mean equal pay and equal work for men and women.

It's could take some time, before we see any true levelling of salaries. There so much battling right now, between Democrats and Republicans, on what's the best way to make it happen. But this law is at least a first step toward one sector of the workforce getting a boost.

Standing alongside the President, was Lilly Ledbetter, who is a pioneer and fought for equal pay for women. She worked for 19 years, before an anonymous note told her, she was earning 40-percent less than her male co-workers. Her name is also on this first-ever bill on pay equality, as President Obama signed it into law.

"A woman has got to work about 3 more months in order to get what a man’s got, because she's paid less,” said President Obama. “That's not fair."

"Any talk about it, I think really helps close the bridge between a man's pay and a woman's pay," said Brittany Pitt, who is a student at Marshall University.

We asked Pritt and Chelsea Emery, another student, what they expect to earn, once they get out in the working world, keeping in mind this pay raise applies only to federal workers, which make-up an estimated one-quarter of the U.S. workforce right now.

"And being able to see who makes what, just even in that small area would open people's eyes," said Chelsea Emery.

"I think that helps everyone become equal,” said Pritt.

Republicans said the President's latest effort will not help the economy.

"It's probably better for us to sit down and see how we can make sure that the law is being properly implemented rather than play politics with this," said Rep. Eric Cantor, Republican Majority Leader.

The Democratic- controlled Senate plans to take up the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is a multi-faceted approach to leveling the pay field for women later this week. It’s backed by businesses, Republicans are expected to block the legislation.

"My colleagues and I won't stop fighting until this legislation has passed,” said Rep. Doris Matsui,(D-Ca). ” In the words of Rosie the Riveter, 'We can do it.'"

Today's orders reflect Obama's "Year Of Action" goal, which involves using executive orders to advance his agenda when Congress works slowly. We also saw this back in February, with an order which raised the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors.



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