R 159
2017 -- S 0699
Enacted 04/04/2017

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Goldin, Lynch Prata, Metts, DiPalma, and Lombardi
Date Introduced: April 04, 2017

     WHEREAS, The Equal Pay Act was signed 54 years ago however, since that year, the
wage gap between working women and working men has narrowed by less than half a cent per
year; and
     WHEREAS, According to the nonprofit Institute for Women's Policy Research in 2015,
among full-time workers, women still earn less than men, earning only 80 percent of what men
earn. Additionally, a wage gap persists between the genders when further analyzed by educational
attainment, age groups, race and ethnicity; and
     WHEREAS, Economist Evelyn Murphy, president of The Wage Project, estimates that
during the average 47 years of full-time work the wage gap amounts to a loss in wages for a
woman of:
     • $700,000 for a high school graduate;
     • $1.2 million for a college graduate; and
     • $2 million for a professional school graduate; and
     WHEREAS, In 2014, Rhode Island women were more likely to live in poverty (16
percent of women compared to 12.6 percent of men). Women therefore have higher rates of
economic insecurity than do men and are thus more likely to rely on public benefits like
Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) and
housing assistance; and
     WHEREAS, The wage disparity over a woman's working lifetime has a tremendous
impact on Social Security benefits and pensions, and in 2010, women 50 and older received only
56 cents for every dollar received by men in income from pensions and annuities; and
     WHEREAS, The three time, and current, World Cup champion and four time Olympic
gold medalist United States Women's Soccer Team brought in twenty million dollars more in
revenue in 2015 for the United States Soccer Federation than did the men's soccer team, yet the
members of the multiple world champion women's team are paid approximately four times less
than the men's soccer team members; and
     WHEREAS, The economic impact of this persistent pay inequality is far-reaching: if
women in the United States received equal pay with comparable men, poverty for working
women would be reduced by half and the U.S. economy would add $482 billion (equivalent to
2.8 percent of 2014 gross domestic product) to its economy; and
     WHEREAS, Closing the gender wage gap would not only increase women's earnings, it
would grow each state's economy. Equal pay would provide a significant boost to the economy;
     WHEREAS, With equal pay, a working woman in Rhode Island would see an average of
$6,066 increase or a 14 percent increase in pay which is 2.9 percent of the state's gross domestic
product (GDP); and
     WHEREAS, According to federal data, it is estimated that it could take 70 more years
before the wage gap between men and women completely closes; and
     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Commission on Women is dedicated to leading reforms
involving equal pay for the women and girls of Rhode Island, and to recognizing the full value of
women's skills and significant contributions to the labor force; and
     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Commission on Women encourages businesses to
conduct an internal pay evaluation to ensure that women are being paid fairly; and
     WHEREAS, Fair pay equity policies can be implemented simply and without undue costs
or hardship in both the public and private sectors; and
     WHEREAS, Fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future
retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy; and
     WHEREAS, Tuesday, April 4th symbolizes the date on which the wages paid to
American women catch up to the wages paid to American men during the previous year; now,
therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations hereby proclaims April 4, 2017, as "Equal Pay Day" in the state; and be it
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Women's Fund of Rhode Island.