President Obama and congressional Democrats launched a coordinated effort today to draw attention to women’s wages.

Republicans on Capitol Hill said the push had little to do with policy and everything to do with politics.

Thank you, everybody.

Women in the work force, and how much they earn, were the focus at the White House on this Equal Pay Day.

And it’s nice to have a day.

But it’s even better to have equal pay.


The president was joined by advocates, including Lilly Ledbetter, famous for her lawsuit that led to pay equity legislation, the first bill Mr. Obama signed after taking office.

Today, he took two executive actions aimed at federal contractors. One bars companies from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay with each other. The other requires compensation data broken down by race and gender. Census data shows women make 77 percent of what men make, and Equal Pay Day marks the date when the average woman’s earnings finally equal a man’s total earnings for the previous year.

The president challenged Republicans to support a Senate bill that would make it easier for workers to sue over pay discrimination.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If Republicans in Congress want to prove me wrong, if they want to show that they in fact do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me.

In the Senate, Democrats, led by Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski, joined in trying to ratchet up the pressure.