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President Biden Moves to Narrow the Gender Pay Gap for Federal Workers

President Biden Moves to Narrow the Gender Pay Gap for Federal Workers

The White House is marking Equal Pay Day by taking new steps aimed at ending the gender pay gap for federal workers and contractors. Equal Pay Day is designed to call attention to how much longer women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that encourages the government to consider banning federal contractors from seeking information about job applicants’ prior salary history. And a new Labor Department directive is aimed at strengthening federal contractors’ obligations to audit payrolls to help guard against pay disparities based on gender, race, or ethnicity. The Biden administration wants to combat occupational segregation to get women better access to well-paying jobs, which tend to be male-dominated. The Office of Personnel Management also is considering a regulation to address the use of prior salary history in hiring and setting compensation for federal workers.

 

Data shows that while the pay gap is at its smallest ever, the coronavirus pandemic has altered women’s labor force participation so that “what we’re seeing is an artificial narrowing,” said Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center.

Last October, the Biden administration issued a national gender strategy to advance women’s and girls’ full participation in society. This year, the administration is looking for new ways to combat pay disparities and drawing attention to high-profile efforts to combat the wage gap, such as the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s $24 million February settlement with U.S. Soccer in a discrimination dispute. The settlement included a commitment to equalizing pay and bonuses to match the men’s team.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other administration officials marked Equal Pay Day with a Tuesday afternoon event attended by members of the women’s soccer team, including Megan Rapinoe, who praised the settlement at the time by saying, “I think we’re going to look back on this moment and just think, ‘Wow, what an incredible turning point in the history of U.S. Soccer that changed the game and changed the world, really, forever.’”

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