It was good news last week when the Paycheck Fairness Act passed in the House of Representatives. The bill gives women the ability to successfully challenge pay discrimination, and it gives employers the incentive to comply with the law. Women are almost half the labor force and make up the majority of our country’s essential workers, yet because of decades of discrimination, women, on average, are paid just 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man.

The bill must now pass the Senate. I hope senators do not copy Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who voted against the bill in the House. He also voted against the Equal Rights Amendment. After contacting his office to question these negative votes, I expect some explanation in the near future.

We cannot build back an economy that works for everyone without ensuring that all women can work with equality, safety and dignity, starting with pay equity. When women succeed, America succeeds.

Phyllis Belcher, Tehachapi