NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) –Republican senators in Washington stalled the debate on a bill aimed at narrowing the gender pay gap, one day after President Barack Obama signed directives to combat pay discrimination on grounds of gender and race, according to media reports.
The Paycheck Fairness Act, a Democrat-sponsored bill, would force employers to disclose payments made according to sex and race, as well as allowing workers to discuss their wages publicly.
“There are great employers out there who do the right thing, and there are plenty of employers out there who are absolutely certain that there’s no pay discrimination happening in their offices, but then sometimes when the data’s laid out it paints a different picture,” ABC News quoted Obama as saying.
“We want to encourage them to fix these problems, if they exist, by making sure that the data’s out there.”
Republicans opposing the bill said it would allow “frivolous” lawsuits and deprive women of workplace flexibility, according to cable news channel MSNBC.
Women in the United States who work full-time earn, on average, 77 cents for every $1 paid to men, according to a study based on U.S. Census data that was released on April 8 to coincide with Equal Pay Day.
However, some are challenging the study’s findings, saying the report doesn’t take into consideration important factors such as education and employment choices.
Senator Harry Reid, who leads the Republican majority in the Senate, supports the bill and said: “Are they so repulsed by equal pay for hardworking women that they’ll obstruct equal pay for equal work? I’m at a loss as to why anyone would decline to debate this important issue.”