(Washington, DC)  --  President Obama is pushing equal pay for equal work.  During an Equal Pay Day ceremony, Obama said it is time that women are paid the same as men for doing the same jobs. 

He argued that America should be a "level playing field."  Obama said women earn an average of 77-cents to every dollar that men earn.  He called it wrong and embarrassing.  Obama signed two new executive actions.  One orders federal contractors to report pay scales by gender and race.  The other order bans federal contractors from penalizing workers who discuss their salaries amongst themselves. 

The President also urged passage of a paycheck fairness bill that the Senate will take up this week.  He accused House Republicans of doing little to help struggling families. 

The White House event featured equal pay activist Lilly Ledbetter, whose name is on the first bill Obama signed as President.  It gives workers more time to file pay discrimination claims.  Ledbetter said women across the U.S. are struggling to make ends meet because of the "gender pay gap."