(NBC News) Today is equal pay day.
That means the average woman has to work through the eighth of April - plus all of last year - to earn what the average man earned last year.
Highlighting equal pay day is one way Democrats can win female voters next fall.
Today President Obama's bringing equal pay activist Lily Ledbetter back to the White House to watch him sign two new orders for federal contractors.
One prevents retribution for employees who speak out about what they're paid.
The other requires contractors to report compensation by race and gender. "The President is using his executive powers to do that the do nothing congress would not do," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D) Washington D.C.
The American Association of University Women says female workers earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.
Women at the white house earn 88 cents. "That is not 100 but it is better than the national average," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
But is it fair? Republicans argue closing the pay gap could hurt men and women. "We don't want a law that would make employers afraid to give raises because they're afraid they might invite a lawsuit. That doesn't help men or women," said Heritage Foundation's James Sherk.
"January February March - a little bit of April, a woman is working for free[.] It's not about flexibility it's about total unfairness," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The Senate is due to vote on pay equity this week.
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