Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today after Senate Republicans blocked passage of the S. 84, The Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would update the Equal Pay Act and strengthen the enforcement of laws prohibiting pay discrimination. In Massachusetts, a woman who holds a full-time job is paid, on average, $47,651 per year compared to $60,243 per year for a man’s full-time pay. For Massachusetts women, this equates to 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. On average, Massachusetts women who are employed full-time lose a combined total of approximately $12 billion every year due to the wage gap. 

“Equal pay isn’t a privilege, it’s a right. But today, Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would ensure women earn equal pay for equal work. This is unconscionable. 

“Regardless of occupation, education, industry, marital status, and other factors, pay for women lags behind their male counterparts. Our families increasing rely on women’s wages for their families’ income. The burden of wage discrimination weighs most heavily on the almost one million Massachusetts children in households where women are the main breadwinners. This inequality hurts our economy. It holds women and their families back.  It means less money spent at local businesses. It makes it more difficult for women to save for retirement or for their children’s education. 

“It is unacceptable to me that Republicans who claim to want to strengthen the economy and provide jobs would vote to short-change half of our population.  Economic security should be for all Americans, and legislation ensuring a level playing field just makes sense.  Eliminating the pay gap will make Massachusetts families and all those across the nation more secure. I call on my Senate colleagues to support this legislation to increase fairness for women in the workplace.”