Congresspersons Horsford and Edwards Discussed Gender Inequality in Pay

Steven Horsford

Steven Horsford

By Courtney Nixon

Congressman Steven Horsford and Congresswoman Donna Edwards hosted an event at College of Southern Nevada to bring light to women issues including inequity in pay that still exists across the nation.

“When women succeed, America succeeds,” repeated Horsford throughout the event held at Cheyenne campus on April 16. Women should be equal to their male counterparts in every way.

One reason the Congressman reached out to the CSN community is because 51 percent of CSN students are women. “This is a great place to have this conversation.”

In 1963, John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act amended from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938that prohibits sex-based wage discrimination. The Act established men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions should be paid the same amount, according to the U.S. Equal-Opportunity Commission.

Even with these laws, it is evident equal pay has not been achieved yet.

In Nevada a woman is paid 85 cents to every dollar a man is paid. Nevada does better than the national average of 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to The National Partnership for Women and Families’ website, which was founded in 1971 as the Women’s Legal Defense Fund.

One of the current legislative issues is the Paycheck Fairness Act. It seeks to improve issues still existing from the prior laws to remedy gender discrimination in the payment of wages and stronger enforcement of the laws. Debate in Congress is ongoing; democrats continue to fight. Pay equity in addition to raising minimum wage and enforcing the Family and Medical Leave Act are hot button issues for women that the improved law would strengthen.

Edwards stressed the laws require renewal. This one in particular is vital because women and children will benefit from this act, she said.

“The panelists were all great examples of powerful women who have overcome barriers and strived in everything they did,” said CSN’s student government Vice President Raquel Landeros.

Sixty attendees, including four men, attended the event. Horsford brought his wife, Sonya, to speak to the audience. Sonya and Edwards shared their personal stories as did some attendees.

“I personally have experienced gender discrimination in my professional life and many of my colleagues have as well,” said Dr. Sondra Cosgrove, a history professor at CSN. “Until our country recognizes that no person should be treated unfairly we will continue to experience economic and social strife.”

Donna Edwards on stage

Donna Edwards on stage

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