Gender Equality, It's Common Sense

Closing the Pay Gap
Colorado has a long way to go in addressing gender inequality. Across occupation, industries, race, and education level, women with full - time year - round jobs make less than men.

Based on median income, women in Colorado make 87 cents for every dollar that men make, which adds up to an annual wage gap of $9,938. The wage gap widens for women of color, with

African - American women paid 64 cents, Latinas 54 cents, and Asian women paid 70 cents for every dollar paid to white men. With this disparity, the women of Colorado lose a combined annual total of $ 14.5 billion a year. To put this in perspective, the average annual wage gap is equal to the full cost of tuition and fees at a two year community college, or about 1 year and three months of food for a family. Since mothers are the primary financial providers for about half of families in the U.S. (81% in the case of African-American mothers), here in Colorado

this is a loss not only for women, but also many thousands of families. If this wage gap were closed, women could afford a higher quality of life, and better provide for their families.

My administration will fight for equality and equal pay for women. Without immediate action, women and men may not reach pay equity until 2059. Colorado cannot wait that long.

Enforcing Equal Pay Legislation
There are measures we can take to better enforce pay gap legislation, and make a substantive difference towards closing the gender wage gap. By limiting the legal claims employers can use to justify paying female employees less than their male counterparts, we can close the gender pay gap and ensure that pay differences can only be justified by similar differences in a workers skills, effort, and responsibility. New provisions that would help Colorado enforce equal pay legislation would include:

  • legally requiring equal pay for employees who perform substantially similar work,
  • eliminating the requirement that employees being compared work at the same establishment,
  • explicitly stating that retaliation against employees who seek to enforce the law is illegal, and
  • making it more difficult for employers to satisfy the bona fide factor other than sex.

Protecting Reproductive Rights
In addition to addressing the wage gap, it is essential that we protect women’s rights to affordable and accessible birth control/contraceptive care. Not only should women have autonomy over their bodies, but they and their partners should be empowered to enter parenthood responsibly.