Here’s something you’ve heard us say a million times before: The gender wage gap is real and it impacts women’s ability to prosper. Research has shown over and over again that women in the U.S. currently earn on average about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the gap is even worse for most women of color.
Ending the disparity would have an outsized benefit on the United States. According to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, closing the gap would "cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half and add $513 billion to the national economy." Let’s say that again: add $513 billion to the national economy.
The cohort of Democratic candidates running for president in the 2020 election know this too. Many of them have prioritized issues impacting the gender wage gap: from paid family leave and universal child care to raising the minimum wage to $15/hour.
Ahead, here is where 10 of the 2020 presidential candidates stand on the issue of equal pay and gender equality. We’ll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Sen. Kamala Harris
The California senator introduced a proposal requiring corporations to certify that women and men receive equal pay for equal work or face financial penalties as a way to help close the gender wage gap. The plan differs from other federal anti-discrimination measures by requiring employers to proactively enforce pay equity instead on placing the burden on employees to try to prove gender-based pay discrimination.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
The Massachusetts Democrat has released several proposals that can help close the gender wage gap. Her plan for universal child care would allow mothers to stay in the workforce. Warren also proposed three executive actions she would take on her first day as president to expand economic opportunities for women of color, which often face more roadblocks to pay equity than their white counterparts.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar does not have an explicit equal pay plan in her website. However, she has advocated for this issue before, most recently by introducing the Even Playing Field Act. The measure — which is co-sponsored by several prominent Democratic senators, including fellow presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — requires athletes in the U.S. national teams receive equal pay and resources. Elizabeth
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard has not introduced a proposal aimed at closing the gender wage gap, but notes in her website that she has voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, "to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes."
Williamson has not introduced an equal pay proposal, but her women’s rights platform includes actions such as "increase rules, regulations, and oversight to prevent pregnancy-related discrimination," "require more post-birth leave time for mothers — and fathers," and "provide more funding for Headstart and high-quality child-care programs."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand’s Family Bill of Rights, an ambitious family-oriented proposal, includes two measures that could help women prosper economically, particularly those who are parents. The New York Democrat is calling for the the implementation of paid family leave nationwide, similar to her FAMILY Act, and the creation of universal pre-K, which would allow mothers to stay in the workforce in the early stages of their children’s life.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
While Biden has not unveiled a gender equity proposal so far, in the past he’s shown support for measures such as the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay legislation.
Sen. Bernie Sanders
The Vermont senator has not rolled out an equal pay plan, but his women’s rights platform includes actions such adopt "Equal Pay for Equal Work through the Paycheck Fairness Act" and pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
In his website, the South Bend, IN, mayor has called for singing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law, strengthening anti-discrimination laws, including protections against pregnant workers.
Some of the solutions the former Texas congressman has proposed as part of his equal pay platform "passing the Paycheck Fairness Act," "strengthening legal remedies for equal pay violations," and "limiting use of wage history in the hiring process."
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