Equal pay for equal work

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Women’s History Month is a time when I reflect on all of the strong women who have worked tirelessly to ensure that my voice can be heard. In order for women to continue to forge ahead on the path to full equality, we must have equal pay for equal work. One of the highlights of President Obama's State of the Union speech was making sure hard work leads to a decent living wage. Our economy is strongest when we are expanding opportunity and rewarding the hard work of every American. Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour and closing the pay gap builds a ladder of opportunity into the middle class for those willing to climb it.

Around 60 percent of workers benefiting from a higher minimum wage are women. Being able to bring home an additional $3,500 a year can go a long way for working-class families. A higher minimum wage gives more families a shot at the American Dream, lifting many out of poverty and offsetting inequality. In addition, women currently make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes.

The first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. We need to continue this progress toward closing the pay gap and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. As a young, African American woman, I strongly believe that if you are a full-time worker you shouldn't have to struggle to make ends meet.This Women’s History Month, join President Obama in calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for working Americans and eliminate pay discrimination by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act. It's time for us to reward American workers for their hard work.