New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for the U.S. Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The proposed legislation would hold employers accountable for pay inequity among women employees. It would also make it easier for workers to pursue back pay and help women negotiate for higher salaries.
Gillibrand told reporters on a conference call that working women across New York state earn on average 14.6 percent less than men in the state, while 41.5 percent of New York households rely on mothers as the main source of income.
"It's my hope that the paycheck fairness will finally help get to the root of the systemic challenges that hold women back from earning a paycheck that meets their value. And it's incredibly important that we do because America's women today deserve a paycheck that they can raise their family on," Gillibrand said.
Meanwhile, critics of the bill say that it would require employers to hand over a burdensome amount of information on employees and their wages to the government. They say that this, in turn, would discourage hiring.
Some Republicans say Democrats are pushing the legislation to court women's votes in this election year.