On Equal Pay Day, Virginia Democrats have been clear that equal pay is a top priority. When women earn less than men for equal work, it’s harmful to our economy. From bills introduced in the General Assembly to the larger movement nationwide, Democrats have consistently been the party of inclusion, empowerment, and equal opportunity.
During the 2015 legislative session, Republicans in the General Assembly had the opportunity to pass several bills that would help level the playing field for Virginian women. Sadly, rather than support these economic boosters, Republicans stuck to partisan politics and killed several important bills. Here's some of the economic opportunities that Republicans blocked this year:
- Equal Pay for Equal Work — Virginia women earn just eighty-three cents for every dollar their male colleagues receive. Democrats supported a bill that would have raised the penalty for pay discrimination and required full equality in benefits and privileges. It died in a House committee thanks to 14 Republican votes, including Bob Marshall and Jackson Miller.
- Equal Rights Amendment — Senate Democrats fought to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which provides that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied […] on account of sex.” Upon reaching the House floor, Republicans chose to put ideology ahead of women’s needs, opposing this common-sense protection despite abundant evidence that women still face discrimination every day.
- Employee Protections — Senate Democrats supported a bill prohibiting employers from retaliation against employees for sharing salary information, because women deserve to know if they're being paid equally for equal work. Ten Republicans, including Frank Wagner and Tommy Norment, killed that key safeguard in committee.
When women are treated unfairly, Virginia's economy suffers. On this Equal Pay Day, remember who voted to hold equality back.