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Women earn the same as men in just five out of hundreds of job categories Send a link to a friend

Governor's campaign for equal pay awareness seeks to close the wage gap

[JUNE 17, 2004]  CHICAGO -- New research highlights why Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign for equal pay awareness is critically needed to close the wage gap between men and women. According to a recent report compiled by the Chicago Tribune, using data pulled from the 2000 Census Bureau statistics, women earn the equivalent of their male counterparts in just five professions out of hundreds of job categories.

"In 2004, nearly 40 years after the federal Equal Pay Act was passed, women still earn far less than men. I launched our Equal Pay Awareness Campaign in order to send a strong message to employers that paying women less than men is not only wrong, but it is against the law," Gov. Blagojevich said.

The governor launched the equal pay awareness effort on April 25 to address this pervasive problem -- a problem that not only affects women, but also the children they support and the communities in which they live.

The Illinois Department of Labor has seen a surge in the number of calls about the Equal Pay Act and in the number of equal pay complaints filed since the campaign began. In the month and a half since the campaign was launched, 203 women have called the Illinois Department of Labor seeking help, asking for direction on how to file a complaint. In nearly five months prior to the launch of the campaign, only 16 women had called regarding the Equal Pay Act.

"Women are calling the Illinois Department of Labor in record numbers because the message is being heard," the governor said. "If a woman does the same work as a man, then she deserves the same pay as a man."

The governor's office and the Illinois Department of Labor have developed numerous tools aimed at educating employers and employees alike about the law.

  • 10,000 equal pay posters are being mailed to the 10,000 largest employers in the state as a required posting. The poster is also available on the Internet in a downloadable version. [To download the Adobe Acrobat reader for the PDF file, click here.]
  • Equal pay posters are prominently displayed in all state offices.

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  • 30-second public service announcements have been recorded and are airing on stations throughout the state of Illinois, explaining the Illinois Equal Pay Act.
  • 3,000 equal pay posters will be displayed on buses and trains in the Chicago area, thanks to the cooperation of the Chicago Transit Authority.
  • Through Gov. Blagojevich's innovative Opportunity Returns economic development strategy, the Illinois Department of Labor will have employer training sessions on the Equal Pay Act the week of July 26.

In conjunction with efforts to educate employees and employers about the Equal Pay Act of 2003, the state launched a toll-free number, 1 (866) EPA-IDOL. The toll-free line will provide a forum in which to ask questions about equal pay laws and to file complaints. Complaint forms are also available to download from http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/. [To download the Adobe Acrobat reader for the form, click here.]

Equal pay complaints will be investigated in a timely manner, and the Equal Pay Act protects women who file complaints from harassment or retaliation.

"When a woman does $100 worth of work, she deserves $100 of pay. Not $70. Not $80. Not $99. Every woman in Illinois deserves $100 of pay for $100 worth of work," Gov. Blagojevich said. "The Equal Pay Awareness Campaign is working. Women are calling. Employers are calling. The message is out there that pay discrimination will not be tolerated."

[News release from the governor's office]

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