Thirteen years ago, Lilly Ledbetter became a household name as the bill named in her honor became the first bill signed into law during the Obama-Biden administration. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step in the fight to close the gender and racial wage gaps that unfairly retain women, especially women of color, in the workplace, and it highlighted the role what does equal pay do to support both working families and our economy in general.
We still have work to do to keep the promise of equal pay. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this country has depended on frontline workers — in industries like childcare, elder care, home health care, retail and hospitality — many of whom are women of color and often paid low wages. Despite bearing the brunt of the health and economic crisis, women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts, depriving them of hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.
Vice President Harris and I are committed to using the tools at our disposal to prevent wage discrimination. I have taken executive action to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors, which takes effect tomorrow and will significantly benefit women. I also signed an executive order to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the federal workforce, which focused on promoting pay equity for federal workers. I continue to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, common sense legislation that would give workers more tools to fight gender discrimination and take important steps to increase pay transparency.
We will continue to work to ensure that women are not held back in the workplace, by prioritizing equal pay, improving the quality of jobs disproportionately held by women and dismantling the barriers that prevent women to participate fully in the labor force, including making childcare more affordable, increasing access to care for the elderly and home health care, and investing in caregivers. To reinforce these efforts, the White House will host an Equal Pay Day meeting later this spring, bringing together partners from the government, nonprofit and private sectors to fight for equal pay.
We look forward to uniting to advance equal pay and strengthen economic security for women and their families across the country.