Katherine Johnson Fair Pay Act Aims to Bring Equality to Pay

Local News

New bipartisan legislation is hoping to tackle the issue of pay discrimination in the Mountain State. It’s called the Katherine Johnson Fair Pay Act — in hopes of honoring a very special West Virginia woman. 

In 2017, West Virginia females earned 24% less than their male counterparts for the same year-round work, that percentage is worse for minority females. 

“Everybody should have 100 percent,” said Delegate Barbara Fleischauer. “Everybody should be equal.” 

Senate Bill 412 and House Bill 2308 are collectively known as the Katherine Johnson Fair Pay Act. 

“I am a father of three daughters and I have three granddaughters,” said Senator Robert Beach. “I think the time is right to try to get equal pay for women in WV.”

The legislation is named for Katherine Johnson, a West Virginia native and West Virginia State University graduate. She graduated from WVSU in 1937 at the age of 18, and only 15 years later she’d be working at NASA. Johnson became an overnight sensation well into her 90s, after she was portrayed in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”  

“She suffered very serious pay discrimination because she was African American and female,” said Fleischauer. 

“This is the perfect way to honor her.” 

The Senate version of the bill is expected to be taken up in committee in the coming weeks. 

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