US needs equal pay guarantees

Daily Editorial Board

On Friday, President Barack Obama proposed a new requirement to promote equal pay. The rule expands on an earlier executive action to require all businesses with more than 100 employees to report employee salaries sorted by race, gender and ethnicity. Previously, only federal contractors were required to abide by this rule.
Obama’s executive action is commendable. Researchers will use data from upcoming wage reports to uncover patterns of discrimination or support cases of employee discrimination that have been brought forward. 
The fact that these data sets will report on race and ethnicity as well as gender is important. It’s common knowledge that women earn, on average, 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. But less well-known is the fact that African-American women earn 64 cents for every white, male dollar, and Latina women earn only 54 cents. 
A more comprehensive data set can help formulate solutions for these worrying trends. Minnesota, which is plagued with racial income disparities, stands to benefit from this insight.
Although it’s better than no action at all, this new rule won’t singlehandedly ensure equal pay. 
Even bipartisan legislation that promises consequences for discriminatory employers won’t affect other factors that prevent women from earning as much as men. Among these are a lack of paid maternity leave, harassment and sexism in the office and discouragement from entering high-paying math and science fields. 
Our country needs to follow Obama’s lead and prioritize this issue across all platforms.