April 8 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama signed two executive actions today designed to shed light on the pay practices of federal contractors, which he said will help eliminate salary disparities between men and women.

"Our job's not finished yet," Obama said to a predominantly female audience in the East Room of the White House. "America should be a level playing field, a fair race for everybody."

The first order prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against employees for discussing their pay. The president also directed the Labor Department to draft rules requiring contractors to provide the government with pay data by sex and race.

Today's actions mark the latest effort by Obama to highlight differences with Republicans on issues affecting women, in part to rally support for Democrats in the 2014 mid- term elections. He used the event to criticize Republicans for blocking Democratic initiatives to raise worker pay and for budget proposals that he said recycle discredited fiscal ideas.

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