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Over the past several months, a series of brave women entrepreneurs have come forward with stories of sexual harassment by venture capitalists. In response to what clearly is a pervasive problem, ERA is sponsoring legislation introduced by California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Senate Bill 224) to clarify legal protections for entrepreneurs against sexual harassment. 

SB 224 amends the California Unruh Act, which provides protection from discrimination by state business establishments, to clarify that current law prohibits sexual harassment in the investor-entrepreneur relationship. 

"Sexual harassment can no longer stand between a great woman entrepreneur and the launch of her company," says Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates. "If we want to see the venture capital industry change and an end to sexual harassment of women in technology, we need strong legal protections. No matter how well intentioned, decency pledges won’t cut it. Senate Bill 224 demonstrates to all women that the law has their back."

Read the full press release here.

Read media coverage in The Los Angeles Times, WIRED, The Recorder, and The Mercury News

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Equal Rights Advocates joins others in condemning the violent white supremacy on display in Charlottesville over this past weekend. And we see the violence that erupted as connected to recent claims that women are biologically unfit for certain jobs and other examples of discrimination and repression played out across national media. 

We also recognize that the Trump administration is directly complicit in this violence. In just the past six months, this administration has taken action to roll back the civil rights of women, people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and gay and trans people - from eliminating the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau to calling to ban trans military service to attacking affirmative action in university admissions.

These actions have empowered racial hate groups to play an outsized role in policymaking across our government. We can no longer count on our government to defend the rights of people for whom civil rights are the most important. We are prepared to stand with our allies and sister organizations to uphold the standards of our most basic democratic ideals. 

Our thoughts are with the family of Heather Hyer, who was murdered while standing up for racial justice, and with all those terrorized by the weekend's events; we also stand in solidarity with those fighting white supremacy and neo-Nazi hatred, and call on those who support gender equity to also support racial equity and oppose racial terror and intimidation.

Read our full statement here. 

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Would you accept 63 cents on the dollar? 

The day has finally come. Today, July 31, Black women’s earnings have finally caught up (theoretically) with what white men earned last year. In reality, across the country, Black women continue to earn on average only 63 cents to a white man’s dollar, meaning they must work a full 19 months to earn what a white man does in 12 months. 

The American dream should belong to all of us. Challenges confronting Black women in the economy are complex, yet the possibilities for building better systems that support the health and well-being of Black women and their families are endless - and it can start here.

On today’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, join us in the fight to conquer the many contributors to the wage gap for Black women.

Raise your voice: demand #BlackWomensEqualPay!

One critical way to ensure equal pay is to end pay secrecy. But last week, the House Appropriations Committee voted to defund an essential equal pay data collection initiative that would require employers to submit pay data by gender and race to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

Too often, employers don’t know they have a wage gap. By requiring employers to report pay data, it requires them to see if they have a gap. You can’t fix what you don’t see.

This vote isn’t over. Tell your representative to stand for equal pay by supporting pay transparency.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

There are many factors contributing to the pay gap for Black women – but did you know that they all add up to contribute to an immense wealth chasm? Black women, on average, own just pennies on the dollar compared to a White, non-Hispanic man. Equal Rights Advocates Executive Director Noreen Farrell breaks down the entrenched, and historic, wealth gap.

LAST WEEK'S ACTION

Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson remains quiet about her false, harmful claim that 90% of campus sexual assault reports are fabricated. While the Department of Education continues to waffle on whether to make a strong stand for students’ rights, demand Jackson reject her “statistic.”

NOT YET A MEMBER OF THE TEAM?

Join the Equal Rights Action Team to receive timely information on how you can help defend women's hard-fought civil rights.

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This piece has been co-authored by Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates and Teresa Younger, President & CEO of the Ms. Foundation.

Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, a day to expose the glaring income disparities experienced by Black women. The average Black woman needs to work until July 31–8 extra months — to reach the earnings of her white male counterparts the previous year. She earns 63 cents on every dollar paid to white men (which is far worse than the dismal national average of 80 cents on the dollar.) On average, she will lose $21,000 a year and $877,480 over a 40-year career.

This distressing news about income is that it is only half of the economic security equation for Black women. Wealth is the other half. Wealth is the measure of a household’s total assets — from cash savings to real estate equity — minus its debts, like a mortgage or credit card balance. Families can tap into a healthy store of financial assets during emergencies. These assets can also be leveraged into investments, like a home or business, and passed onto future generations.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s remember that Black women today own only pennies on the dollar compared to both white men and women.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s remember that Black women today own only pennies on the dollar compared to both white men and women. Indeed, Survey of Consumer Finances data reveal that the median wealth of Black women during their working years is just $200 (as compared to $15,640 for white women and $28,900 for white men).

While these inequities are commonly referred to as the wealth “gap,” the contributing factors are not inexplicable or benign. Nor are these wealth disparities the result of choices by women themselves. They find root in systems deeply entrenched in discrimination based on gender and race. Historically, slavery, Jim Crow laws, redlining, and racially restrictive covenants prevented Black families from accumulating wealth. This legacy plays a significant role in the size of today’s racial wealth gap, or “chasm,” for Black men and Black women.

Today, many Black families continue to lack access to private and public-sector mechanisms that help millions of Americans translate income into wealth.

Today, many Black families continue to lack access to private and public-sector mechanisms that help millions of Americans translate income into wealth. While Black women are likely to be the breadwinner in the household — more than 80% of Black mothers are their family’s sole or primary earner compared to 50% of white mothers — they are less likely to have access to employer-based retirement savings plans and public tax subsidies that encourage people to save and invest. Today, a woman of color is more likely to be carrying student debt, which delays her ability to invest in a home or her child’s education. If she owns a business, it’s likely to be small due to lack of access to loans or investment capital.

Black women also face a host of often hidden attacks that strip them of hard-earned wealth. They were 2.5 times more likely to be given a subprime mortgage in the lead up to the foreclosure crisis — and, hence, were more likely to lose their home, the primary source of their wealth, to foreclosure. And black women are more likely to be the “lender of first resort” for their extended family and to bear the financial burden of incarcerated loved ones.

Let us also not forget that should members of Congress ever prevail in repealing the Affordable Care Act, it will be Black women who will disproportionately bear the burden of the health coverage shortfall and whose savings will be compromised.

Sound policy reforms exist to address both sides of the economic security equation — to increase the earning capacity of black women and protect them from unfair practices that strip their financial assets. So on this Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we call not only for policies to close the wage gap but also for a comprehensive policy platform to build the wealth of Black women. Check out this great video to learn more about solutions gaining traction across the country. You can also go here to get updates on Equal Rights Advocates’ work.

A special thanks to Heather McCulloch, founder of the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative, for her contributions to this piece. Noreen is a Founding Partner of the Initiative and Chair of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign.

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Over the past several months, a series of brave women entrepreneurs have come forward with stories of sexual harassment by venture capitalists. In response to what clearly is a pervasive problem, ERA is sponsoring legislation introduced by California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Senate Bill 224) to clarify legal protections for entrepreneurs against sexual harassment. 

SB 224 amends the California Unruh Act, which provides protection from discrimination by state business establishments, to clarify that current law prohibits sexual harassment in the investor-entrepreneur relationship. 

"Sexual harassment can no longer stand between a great woman entrepreneur and the launch of her company," says Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates. "If we want to see the venture capital industry change and an end to sexual harassment of women in technology, we need strong legal protections. No matter how well intentioned, decency pledges won’t cut it. Senate Bill 224 demonstrates to all women that the law has their back."

Read the full press release here.

Read media coverage in The Los Angeles Times, WIRED, The Recorder, and The Mercury News

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ERA Sponsors Bill to Prohibit Sexual Harassment in Venture Capital

August 17, 2017 | by

Over the past several months, a series of brave women entrepreneurs have come forward with stories of sexual harassment by venture capitalists. In response to what clearly is a pervasive problem, ERA...
read more

There is No Place for Violent White Supremacy in a Democracy

August 14, 2017 | by

Equal Rights Advocates joins others in condemning the violent white supremacy on display in Charlottesville over this past weekend. And we see the violence that erupted as connected to recent claims...
read more

Demand Equal Pay for Black Women

July 31, 2017 | by

Would you accept 63 cents on the dollar?  The day has finally come. Today, July 31, Black women’s earnings have finally caught up (theoretically) with what white men earned last year. In reality,...
read more

Remembering the Whole Wealth Equation on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

July 31, 2017 | by

This piece has been co-authored by Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates and Teresa Younger, President & CEO of the Ms. Foundation. Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, a...
read more