“Massachusetts House passes pay equity bill
By Shira Schoenberg – Mass Live
The Massachusetts House on Thursday passed a bill aimed at ensuring that women are paid equally for equal work.
“Some of us have been working on this bill since 1998,” said state Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst. “This is a happy day that we are passing it.”
The bill passed by a unanimous vote of 158-0, amid cheers in the House chamber.
Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law requiring men and women be paid the same amount for comparable work, in 1945. The bill that was passed Thursday, H.4509, updates and clarifies the law. The bill received support from both business groups and women’s rights groups, after earlier drafts underwent significant revisions to ensure that the bill advances the cause of equal pay without unduly hurting businesses.
Several lawmakers noted the long journey for women to gain equality in the workplace. “When I vote today, I have the great sense I’ll be standing on the shoulders of and giving thanks to the many feminists who have toiled for decades to bring us to where we are today,” said state Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown.”