But Clinton has also offered a potential partial solution, and its a move that’s already been catching on in cities and states througout the US.
In a conversation with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Clinton said that prejudice against women is “very much a part of the landscape politically and socially and economically” in the US, and major American industries like tech are still “still mired in pay inequities.”
“We’re not just at a stalled point — I think we are potentially going backwards,” she told Amanpour, regarding women’s issues in the US. Clinton said that the issue of equal pay should provoke concern in anyone, regardless of gender, political party, or ideology.
But Clinton also said a recent legislative trend could help.
New York City recently passed a bill banning public and private employers from asking job candidates about their previous salaries during the hiring process and taking a job candidate’s pay history under consideration when coming up with a new salary offer.
The new legislation follows similar measures from Philadelphia, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, and Massachusetts.
“On equal pay, a number of cities and states have said, ‘you know, one of the problems about equal pay is when you hire people, you say, “What was your last pay?”‘ So if you’re a young woman and you’ve been underpaid before and you say what your pay is, then a slight bump looks fair, but it’s not because you’ve got built-in inequity,” Clinton said.
However, not all of the rulings have gone off without a hitch. CBS Philadelphia reported that Philadelphia’s Chamber of Commerce pushed back against the pay equity ruling and has filed a lawsuit to block it.
Clinton said she found it troubling to see what she called a “great effort to make sure that localities don’t pass laws that prevent employers from asking about past pay.”
Clinton went on to call women’s rights the “unfinished business of the 21st century” and publicly called upon the Trump administration not to wind back the US’s efforts to promote women’s rights abroad and at home.
“We know it’s a problem in our country,” she said. “It’s not something that exists far away. It exists right here. And it’s really troubling to me that we are still grappling with how to deal in a economy to ensure that people who do the work that is expected of them get paid fairly and equally.”
Clinton also discussed her own experience as an employer who’s hired young men and women. When it comes to taking the job, Clinton said that “young women almost always say to me, ‘Do you think I can do it? Do you think I’m ready?’ Young men basically say, ‘What took you so long?’ This is something where we have to clear out the cobwebs and say, ‘you know what? There shouldn’t be differences.'”
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