Statement on Agenda Item 70, “International Equal Pay Day”

Jordyn Arndt
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 15, 2019


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We thank Iceland for its resolution on an International Equal Pay Day. The United States is pleased to join consensus on the resolution.

The United States supports the concept of equal pay for equal work among women and men. In the United States, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act all help reinforce this conviction.

The United States had hoped that the phrase “equal pay for equal work or work of equal value” would have appeared in key paragraphs of this resolution. This phrase reflects negotiated consensus language from the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, and has appeared in numerous UN documents since then. The United States understands the phrase to promote pay equity between men and women, and accepts the formulation on that basis. The United States implements it by observing the principle of “equal pay for equal work.”

We are committed to empowering women economically worldwide. On February 7, the United States launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative. W-GDP seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 through U.S. government activities, private-public partnerships, and a new innovative fund at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

By helping women secure opportunities in their local economies, W-GDP seeks to make developing nations economically self-reliant and therefore more stable, secure, and prosperous. Specifically, the initiative focuses on workforce development and vocational training to give women the necessary skills to obtain jobs, and helps increase women’s access to capital, markets, technical assistance, and networks. It also aims to reduce barriers – such as violence against women and legal barriers – and to enhance protections in laws, regulations, and social norms to facilitate women’s pursuit of employment, business, and investment opportunities.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the outcome documents of the Beijing Women’s Conference and its five-year review conferences, we addressed our concerns in a previous statement on Third Committee resolutions that we delivered on November 7th.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.