WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Director of the Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity Patrice Onwuka testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on equal pay and wage discrimination. Onwuka joined witnesses Ms. Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women; Dr. C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; Ms. Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; and Ms. Megan Rapinoe, soccer player on the U.S. Women’s National Team and equal pay advocate.
The hearing was held in honor of Equal Pay Day. On the day we consider how to ensure women are treated fairly at work, it’s just plain wrong to hold up the gender pay gap as evidence of widespread discrimination in the labor force.
“Now, it is as important as ever for Congress to discuss women’s pay and opportunities,” Onwuka said. “However, any discussion of increasing women’s pay must be grounded in facts. Justifying wide-reaching policy changes upon the misuse of wage gap statistics is misguided and could shortchange women of the flexible opportunities they truly need and desire right now.”
“Beyond the civil rights laws already in place, the best protection for women in the workforce is a robust economy that puts pressure on employers to increase wages and treat workers fairly,” added Onwuka. She explained how some legislation aimed at discouraging and punishing discrimination in the workplace “should not remove men and women’s freedom to work in jobs that meet their unique circumstances.”
Onwuka concluded by saying, “One-size-fits all government policies, though well-intentioned, may rob women of the ability to choose for themselves the best work arrangements that fit their interests and circumstances.”
Ms. Onwuka’s testimony can be found HERE.
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.