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Obama administration announces new steps to advance equal pay

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama on Friday announced a new set of actions his administration is taking in an effort to close the gender pay gap. Speaking with reporters, Obama chastised American business for paying women, on average, only 79 percent of comparable male earners, and stated, "[w]omen are not getting the fair shot that we believe every American deserves." In a press release [text], the White House announced the exact measures to be taken, including requiring all companies with at least 100 employees to disclose salaries broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. In addition, the White House continues to put pressure on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act [text], and endorsed a report [text] by the Council of Economic Advisors [official website] on the gender pay gap. Finally, the administration announced that it will hold a summit on May 23, called "The United State of Women," to discuss how far women's rights have come under the Obama administration, and some options for continued progress.

The gender pay gap [JURIST op-ed] has been a longstanding issue in the US, with some states, such as California, taking action [JURIST report] to solve it. The issue goes beyond US borders, however, as a group of UN experts on the issue of discrimination against women reported [JURIST report] in March that "no country has achieved full substantive equality of women." The UK considered [JURIST report] a measure similar to that recently announced by Obama in March, but it failed [UK Parliament report] to pass.

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