Ohio House Democrats unveiled their plans to close the gender wage gap with an “Ohio Equal Pay Act” Tuesday, which marked the annual “Equal Pay Day” in America.
Reps. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) discussed their bill at a press conference alongside several of their Democratic colleagues.
“Ohio’s gender wage gap continues to hold back women, families, and our economy. We can’t get ahead as a state if half of our workforce is undervalued and underpaid,” Howse said. “We need real, commonsense reforms to restore our promise as an opportunity state where everyone who works hard, regardless of gender, has a shot at the American dream.”
The bill, which has yet to receive an official number, would require companies who contract with the state government to obtain an “Equal Pay Certificate,” which would certify that female employees have the same opportunities for career advancement.
It would also require government agencies to conduct evaluations of their employees’ pay scales to “ensure compensation is based on responsibilities and working conditions across job categories,” a press release from the House Democrats explains.
“It’s long past time to empower women in the workplace to be what they are—equal,” Clites said during Tuesday’s press conference. “Closing the gap ensures better lives, brighter futures and the opportunity for Ohio women and families to get ahead and save for the future.”
Under the Ohio Equal Pay Act, companies would be prohibited from placing gag orders on employees that prevent them from discussing their salaries with co-workers.
“The wage gap doesn’t just hurt working women, it also affects their families and local communities. As long as pay discrimination persists, we are cheating families out of their full earning potential. We must do better to restore Ohio’s promise of equal opportunity for everyone,” Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) added.
House Democrats claim that the average female Ohioan earns 78 cents to every dollar a man makes, while, on a national level, black women earn 61 cents on the dollar compared to men, and Latina women make just 53 cents.
“I am proud to support legislation that helps put money back into the pockets of hardworking women and families. It’s unacceptable that in 2019, women aren’t earning the same as men who work the same job,” Rep. Janine Boy (D-Cleveland Heights) said. “Passing legislation that supports women, strengthens families and ultimately grows our economy is how we get Ohio back on the right path.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Ohio Capitol” by Alexander Smith. CC BY-SA 3.0.