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PRESS RELEASE
4-20-11

Experts to Discuss Wage Gap Issues in Colorado

EEOC-Denver Field Office Hosts Fair Pay Day Event

DENVER - The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)-Denver Office will host a community forum with a panel of experts for a serious discussion on how unfair pay impacts Colorado. The free event will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at the Hilton Garden Inn-Downtown Denver, 1400 Welton Street. The forum will run from 9:00 am Ė noon. 

Ms. Nancy Sienko, Director of the EEOC-Denver Field Office and Ms. Marzette Bedford-Billinghurst, Program Analyst for the United States Department of Labor-Womenís Bureau will deliver the opening remarks. The panel of experts will include D. Andrew Winston, Senior Trial Attorney of the EEOC-Denver Field Office; Steven Chavez, Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division; Dusti Gurule, Regional Representative for United States Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis; Linda Meric, National President of the National Organization of Working Women-9to5. Patricia McMahon, Public Information Officer for the EEOC-Denver Field Office will serve as the moderator.

Fifty years after passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the wage gap between men and women still persists. Women are paid an average of only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gap is even greater for women of color and women with disabilities.

The wage gap has a cumulative effect on working women and their families. Because raises, bonuses, and contributions to retirement funds are usually calculated as a percentage of salary, the impact of wage discrimination grows over the course of a lifetime.

According to the American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau data, the state of Colorado is ranked 17th in the nation for median earnings for male and female full-time year-round workers, ages 16 and older at all education levels, as well as 17th for the earnings ratio between the sexes.

Looking at college-educated workers age 25 and older,  Colorado is ranked 37th in the nation for median earnings and earning ratio between male and female full-time, year-round workers. In this category, the average male earns an annual salary of $71,000 whereas the average female earns $50,000 annually.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the Equal Pay Act of 1963; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008; and Title II of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008. These laws prohibit employment discrimination because of race, sex, national origin, religion, color, age, retaliation, disability and genetic information.

The EEOCís Denver Field Office has jurisdiction for Colorado and Wyoming. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.