Four years ago, on January 29, 2009, President Obama signed his first piece of legislation into law — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Named after the woman who worked for 19 years as a night supervisor in a tire factory and sued her employer after discovering she was paid less than men doing the same job, the law makes it easier for women to challenge wage discrimination. Though the gender pay gap has narrowed over time, women of all races and levels of education continue to face lower earnings. The lower pay women earn over the course of their careers results in smaller incomes during retirement. Even with progress in recent years, women face the effects of the pay gap from their first jobs until long after they have stopped working.
Some facts include:
• The gender pay gap starts for many women in the first year of their careers.
• The gap remains even when taking college majors and job preferences into account.
• The gender pay gap increases the student debt loan burden for women early in their careers.