On Tuesday, President Obama will sign two executive orders in an effort to increase wage transparency for federal contractors. The first will prohibit contractors from taking action against employees who openly discuss their wages, and the second will require them to provide worker compensation data, organized by race and gender.

These orders will give female workers a means to discover violations of fair pay laws, and will apply only to federal contracting, which makes up about one-quarter of the U.S. workforce. The language in the orders is similar to that found in the Paycheck Fairness Act, which applies more broadly and is the subject of Senate debate this week.

Of the executive orders, Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel, says, "Congress still needs to do its part and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, but we're one step closer to achieving pay equity thanks to this White House."

[Image credit: AP]