Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) re-introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which addresses the wage gap between men and women, in the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill, S. 84 seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and require employers to prove that differences in wage are the result of differences in merit, not gender. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who file claims of wage discrimination, and allows victims of wage discrimination to seek punitive damages for lost wages.
In a press release, Senator Mikulski said "The Paycheck Fairness Act ensures that women will no longer be fighting on their own for equal pay for equal work." Senator DeLauro echoed Mikulski's sentiment by saying "The Paycheck Fairness Act will help the Equal Pay Act fulfill its intended objective, offer real protections to ensure equal pay for equal work, and see that women are paid the same as the other half of our nation's workforce for the same job."
The Paycheck Fairness Act was first introduced in 2009 but failed to get the necessary 60 votes to pass in the Senate. Last year, the act was filibustered by Senate Republicans in June.
Media Resources: Press Release of Senator Mikulksi 1/23/2013; Thomas.gov 1/23/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/5/2012; 1/9/2009
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .