Chicago, IL – The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) recognized Equal Pay Day today, drawing attention to the gender pay gap and related issues – such as gender-disparity in the workplace, sexual harassment and discrimination based on sex and race. Equal Pay Day increases public awareness about gender inequality in the workplace and the importance of pay equity between men and women who do the same work.
IDHR Director Janice Glenn says Illinois has made progress when it comes to workplace equality, but more needs to be done.
“The Governor’s office and legislators have made great strides towards equality but it is imperative that we re-dedicate ourselves to building upon the progress that has been made,” Glenn said. “Paying women less than men is not only unfair, it also has far-reaching implications for society.”
With the shifting workforce in this country, many women are increasingly the financial head of their household. Unequal pay can be devastating for these families, creating a barrier lasts for generations. It impacts families’ day to day living and their abilities to save for retirement and invest in their children’s education.
Governor Rauner took legislative action on the equal-pay issue in 2017, giving legislators guidance on the importance of closing the wage gap, “The gender wage gap must be eliminated, and I strongly support wage equality. Massachusetts already has established a best-in-the-country approach to the issue of employers inquiring about salary history. Illinois should model its legal regime on Massachusetts’ model.”
The Department of Human Rights calls on all Illinoisans to challenge discrimination and encourage a fair and equal workplace. Over the past year, IDHR has responded to various barriers that impede job advancement for women and, has continued to expand its efforts to increase awareness of workplace discrimination and harassment – from providing resources such as the sexual harassment hotline, training on discrimination, and raising awareness about the protections that are available to them.