1963- JFK signs into law the US Equal Pay Act

June 10, 2022

On June 10, 1963, the United States government finally took action to combat gender discrimination. On this day, US President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, which required that all men and women be given the same wages for doing equal work.

By signing this legislation, Kennedy sent a message that paid work should not be about gender but merit. The Equal Pay Act also gave women more legal rights in cases of unfair pay and prohibited sex-based wage differentials in most forms of labour employment.

Facts About the US Equal Pay Act

  • The Equal Pay Act resulted from a long campaign for equal pay for equal work.
  • The issue of unequal wages for women was one that many women were fighting.
  • The National Committee on Pay Equity began to discuss how widespread and complex the issue of unequal wages had become.
  • As the United States entered World War II in 1941, many women had been drafted into the armed forces and took over many jobs that men previously did.
  • Before the US Equal Pay Act, black men had fewer jobs and better pay than white women. Men held most of the jobs in the United States.
  • The Equal Pay Act was designed to apply only to jobs where men and women routinely perform similar tasks. It did not apply to menial or clerical jobs.
  • Since the Equal Pay Act was an executive order, it only applied to federal contractors and businesses granted government contracts.

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