Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today urged action on the Ohio Equal Pay Act, legislation alongside Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) that would recognize the full value and potential of Ohio’s working women.
The announcement comes as advocates mark Black Women’s Equal Pay, the date to which Black women must work to make up for the lost wages relative to their male counterparts. In Ohio, women are paid 78 cent for every dollar paid to men. Black women face a larger gap at 64 cents to the dollar.
“Having to work an additional eight months to earn what their white, male counterparts did the year before is the kind of systemic racism that devalues and diminishes the work of Black women and women of color in America,” Howse said. “Passing the Ohio Equal Pay Act is more important than ever as Black women and families continue to bear the brunt of the health and economic impacts of this pandemic. We need to work together to ensure our wages reflect the true promise of Ohio—that our economy works for everyone, not just the privileged few at the top.”
Black Ohioans currently make up 13 percent of the state's population, but more than a quarter of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.
The Ohio Equal Pay Act would:
- Prohibit gag orders on employees that keep them from talking about their salaries with one another.
- Require vendors who do business with the state to obtain an Equal Pay Certificate, certifying that women at the companies are given equal opportunity for career advancement.
- Require government entities to evaluate their employees’ pay scales to ensure compensation is based on skills, responsibilities and working conditions across job categories.
Republicans have refused to give the Ohio Equal Pay Act a single hearing since it was introduced in June 2019.