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Hillary Clinton: A Fighter For Equal Pay

Pushing Equal Pay Legislation 

Paycheck Fairness Act

Senator Clinton consistently advocated for paycheck fairness.

Senator Clinton introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2005 and 2007. Speaking to her bill in 2007, Clinton noted that “pay discrimination continues to result in women earning less than men for performing the same job.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would add nonretaliation requirements for folks who inquire about or discuss their wages. Senator Clinton co-sponsored the legislation in 2003 and 2001 as well. This policy was adopted, in part, by President Obama’s April 2014, Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages.  [S.77, 1/22/01; S. 76, 1/7/03, S. 841, 4/19/05; S. 766, 3/6/07; Senator Clinton floor remarks, 3/6/07; Executive Order, 4/8/14]

Senator Clinton co-chaired Senate hearing on the need to close the pay gap between men and women.

“Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today co-chaired, along with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a Senate hearing to draw attention to the need to close the continuing pay gap between men and women. Senator Clinton is the lead Senate sponsor of The Paycheck Fairness Act which would take critical steps to empower women to negotiate for equal pay, to create strong incentives for employers to obey the Equal Pay Act and to strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts.  […] ‘It is in all of our interests, men and women, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, to pursue, and finally achieve, equal wages for equal work. The pay gap is not a problem to be ignored or denied. Equality works for all of us and it’s my hope that in this new Congress, we can make sure that everyone in America works in equality,’ said Senator Clinton.” [Senator Clinton press release, 4/12/07]

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act 

Senator Clinton was an original co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Senator Clinton co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which became the first law signed by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009. The Act, which expanded workers’ rights to take pay discrimination issues to court, was originally introduced in 2007 by Ted Kennedy as the Fair Pay Restoration Act. That version was co-sponsored by Clinton as well. [S. 181, 1/8/09; S. 1843, 7/20/07]

Senator Clinton called out the Senate Republicans that voted against moving the bill forward.

  • “In response to the U.S. Senate rejecting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill that would have provided American women with the legal recourse to challenge workplace discrimination when it occurs, Hillary Clinton issued the following statement: ‘I was proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation, which would help deliver on the promise of equality and fairness in the workplace, and I am deeply disappointed 42 of my colleagues did not see fit to pass it.’” [Senator Clinton press release, 4/23/08 (via; Vote #110, 4/23/08]

Bypassing Congress to Fight for Pay Equity

Senator Clinton worked directly with young women entering the workforce to help them achieve pay equity.

“Today, at a seminar regarding gender equity salary issues, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored that while young women entering the workforce today have more opportunities than ever, women still face pay inequity in the workplace… Topics covered at the seminar included educating young women about how to negotiate equal pay in the workforce, how young women should handle pay equity once they are a part of the workforce, as well as legislative efforts to close the wage gap.” [Senator Clinton Press Release, 3/23/06 (via]

Senator Clinton published a guide for young professional women on getting equal pay.

Senator Clinton released a guide to help young professional women know their rights when it comes to getting equal pay for equal work. The guide, titled, “Know How to Ask & Know Your Rights: A Pay Equity Guide on How to Help Yourself in the Workplace,” gave tips for negotiating a fair wage and informed women about what to do if they suspected they were victims of wage discrimination.  The guide noted that women “have the right to” be “paid the same amount as a man for doing the same job,” and the right to bring “litigation against your employer if you think you have been discriminated against.” [“Know What to Ask & Know Your Rights: A Pay Equity Guide on How to Help Yourself in the Workplace,” Senator Clinton, 3/23/06 (via]

Pushing the Bush Administration to Enforce Equal Pay Laws

Senator Clinton called for an investigation into the enforcement of equal pay laws by the Bush Administration.

“As Americans across the country mark Equal Pay Day, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) called for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the role the federal government has and can play to remedy pay inequities in the workplace. […] The Senators asked GAO to investigate whether laws are being enforced to remedy the wage gaps that persist for men and women performing the same jobs.” [Senator Clinton press release, 4/24/07 (via]

The GAO report found the Bush Administration was not monitoring the enforcement of equal pay laws.

“Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, requested by Clinton, Maloney and their colleagues, finding that the Bush administration has neglected to monitor the enforcement of the pay equity laws… ‘This report is a call to action that we cannot afford to ignore,’ said Senator Clinton. ‘It is clear that while woman have long fought for equality in the workplace, the Bush Administration has turned back the clock by failing to enforce the equal pay requirements that are already on the books.’” [Senator Clinton press release, 9/15/08 (via]

Senator Clinton called on the Bush Administration to release a study affirming the existence of a wage gap.

“Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Senator Tom Harkin and others in calling on the Administration to release a Department of Labor study that affirms that the wage gap exists… ‘I believe the Department of Labor study should be released right away so that we can learn more about the inequalities that continue to hurt women and families in this country,’ Senator Clinton said.” [Senator Clinton press release, 4/3/01 (via]