Thank you very much Robert. I am absolutely thrilled to be here on this occasion. I want to thank Robert and everyone at Glassdoor for hosting us today and lifting up this issue.
It is Equal Pay Day. It is also the one-year anniversary of my journey in my campaign so I am very happy to be with you. Now we're here to talk about this pay gap that costs women and their families and our economy so much money every single year. And I emphasize the three aspects of this, because what I have found as I have gone around the country, now for many years, but particularly for this past year is that it's important to make the point that the failure to ensure equal pay for women also impacts families and the broader economy.
So Glassdoor is focusing on an issue that has really almost universal repercussions. Of course it devalues the work women do—from minimum-wage workers to chief executive—and even the best athletes in the world.
And Megan, who you will hear from in a minute, is the midfielder for the U.S. women's national soccer team.
And we cheered when they won the World Cup and we cheered when they won the Olympic gold medal. And we noticed that our men's team hasn't yet done that. Yet somehow, the men are making hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the women.
Now you know the phrase "equal pay for equal work"? Well in America, we believe in equal pay for equal play, too.
And that's why we need to elevate this issue, but I will quickly add we know not everyone's convinced. There's still a lot of misinformation out there. So I'd like to take just a few minutes to quickly debunk some of the myths about the pay gap.
Myth number one: Some say there isn't really a gender pay gap. Well, that is just wrong. The typical woman working full time in 2014 was paid 79 percent of what men were paid. But when you break it down: for African American women, that number is 60 percent; for Latinas, it's 55 percent. And the last time I checked, there's no discount for being a woman. Groceries don't cost us less. Rent doesn't cost us less. So why should we be paid less?
Now myth number two: Some say this is a problem just for women, that men don't have to worry about it. But that's wrong again. If you're a man married to a woman, if you're the man who's the son of a working woman, if you're the father to a young working woman this is your problem too.
And plenty of men care about this issue, because they believe in fairness and they know this just isn't right.
Now myth number three: Some say, isn't gender pay discrimination already illegal? Why are we still talking about this? Because it still happens every day.
And I have been talking to many tens of thousands of people for the last year. It is one of the most commonly raised questions in all of the events that I do. I met a young man I met in New Hampshire who got a job working a cashier. He got the job in part because his mother was already a cashier at the same store, so when the vacancy came up, she talked to the manager, they interviewed her son and he was hired.
And he was, along with his mother, very excited. And then he brought home his first paycheck. They opened it together, ready to celebrate. He was only 17 years old. And they discovered that, after one week on the job, he was making a dollar an hour more than his mother who had worked there for four years.
I was also asked by a young girl in Las Vegas, "If you're elected the girl president, will you be paid the same as the boy president?" I said, "Well, I think so."
That's why organizations like Glassdoor are important, because you promote transparency. That is really at the root at what we're going to be having to advocate for and secure. That's why we also need legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act, so people won't be fired or retaliated against for asking what their co-workers make. If you're scared of people having more information, that may raise a question you should ask yourself, maybe you're not being fair.
Now, we know there are a lot of other reasons why women end up earning less than men over the course of their lifetimes. And we've got to take all of those on. I'm very proud that New York and California have raised the minimum wage.
I'm very proud that New York and California have raised the minimum wage because nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. Two-thirds of workers in tipped jobs are women and those jobs are hard, they're often insecure, and they don't pay nearly enough. I hope the rest of the country will catch up with New York and California. Women all over America deserve a raise.
We also have to encourage more women to enter higher-paying fields, like science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Now these were not that open to women and in some cases just downright unwelcoming. Now more and more women are venturing in, contributing everyday as innovators, inventors, coders, builders and discoverers. And these are good jobs and good jobs mean better pay.
We also have to do more to support working parents, moms and dads alike, so they can stay on the job and keep more of their paycheck. We should be supporting paid family leave in our country. And again I'm very proud of California and now New York and other states that are making significant strides in that. It also shouldn't cost as much for parents to afford quality childcare, so that they can focus on work when they're at work. And so I think we have to look at this issue of equal pay in the context of everything else we need to do to support people, particularly women who are in the workplace.
Now perhaps the biggest myth of all is that we can't solve these problems. Well I absolutely reject that, we can if we summon the political will.
These are going to be some of the biggest issues that'll come to the forefront of our political and economic lives. Other countries have made it easier for women to be mothers and have careers, to be caretakers especially of their parents and have careers. Not out of altruism, but because they know that it's foolish to let half the population's talent and energy go unused. If we want to compete and win in the global economy, which I certainly hope we will, we need to make it possible for everyone to contribute.
So this Equal Pay Day, let's commit to doing our part to make America a more equitable place.
Our parents and our teachers; let's encourage our girls. Our bosses; let's treat women fairly, let's go the distance to support employees with family responsibilities. For Congress; let's pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and support paid family leave.
Now occasionally when I give a speech like this, which I do practically everyday, people will say, "Oh there she goes, she's playing the gender card." And what I say to that is if talking about equal pay and paid leave and more opportunities for women and girls is playing the gender card then deal me in.
Because these are absolutely incredibly important questions of countless women in our country in their families lives and the future of our economy. So I'm looking forward to the discussion with these amazing panelists and I thank you all for being here to join with us in lifting up the importance of the Equal Pay Day.