POLITICS: PennAve

Obama: Unequal pay for women belongs in a 'Mad Men episode'

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Politics,White House,Labor,Entitlements,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,War on Women,Gender Issues,State of the Union

President Obama in his State of the Union address pressed for equal pay for female workers, saying it was time to do away with unfair employment practices that belonged in a "Mad Men" episode.

“Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it's an embarrassment,” said the president in his speech to Congress.

“A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship — and you know what, a father does, too,” Obama continued.

In making his case, he cited the popular AMC television show "Mad Men," which depicts an advertising agency in the 1960s with storylines often highlighting the discrimination faced by female employees.

“It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men' episode,” the president said. “This year, let's all come together -- Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street -- to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.”

Obama's 2014 State of the Union focused heavily on the economy, and the president highlighted policies he said would bolster the middle class and fight income inequality.

Obama's first bill signed as president, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, expanded legal rights to sue over pay discrimination.

“I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds,” said Obama on Tuesday.

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