June 10, 1963 : President John F. Kennedy Signs The Equal Pay Act Into Law

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Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Between 1950 and 1960, women with full-time jobs earned 59 cents for every dollar a man made working the same job.

In 1944, congresswoman Winifred C. Stanley introduced H.R. 5056, prohibiting Discrimination in Pay on Account of Sex, however, it did not pass at the time.

The Equal Pay Act was signed into law on June 10, 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. As part of his New Frontier Program, President Kennedy amended equal pay into the existing 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.

The bill states that sex discrimination “depresses wages and living standards for employees” and “constitutes an unfair method of competition.” It was designed to "prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers."

However, more than 50 years later, women earn just 79 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Pay discrepancies disproportionately have impact older women, who remain subject to the attitudes and conditions of the past.

In contrast, the rates for young women coming of age in the 1990s reflect women's social and legal advances. For example, women under 25 working full-time in 2010 earned 93.8% of men's salaries compared to those ages 55-64, who earned 75.2% of what men made.

In 2009, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which allows victims of discrimination to file within 180 days of their last paycheck.

Although women have made enormous progress in the workforce since the signing of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963, the stubborn fact remains that five decades later the basic goal of the act has not yet been realized.

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