Calling for Pay Equity on Women’s Equality Day
Today is Women’s Equality Day – the day the nation celebrates the progress made in the 96 years since women won the right to vote. Not since 1920 has our progress been more apparent than it is today. Women have more freedom over if, who or when they’ll marry and if, when or how they’ll bear children. Women are nearly half of the workforce, and are more likely to attend college and earn professional degrees.
But even as women have advanced and families have changed, our workplaces have not kept up. We all know the figure: on average, women make 79 cents for every dollar white men make. California women fare slightly better at 84 cents, unless she is a woman of color. African-American women in California average 63 cents on the dollar; Latinas just 43 cents.
Moreover, one-fifth of women workers report that they have lost a job or were told they would lose a job for taking time off due to personal or family illness. Pregnant workers still face discrimination that threatens their health and the financial stability of their families, and according to a recent survey, one in three women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
It’s clear that we have not yet reached full equality for women.
This year’s Women’s Equality Day must serve not only as a moment for celebration and commemoration, but also as an opportunity to renew our demand for full equality for all women – in the home, in society, and in the workplace.
That’s why ERA chairs the national Equal Pay Today! Campaign, a collaboration of organizations fighting to end gender discrimination in the workplace and ensure all women are treated fairly. In addition to equal pay for equal work, the campaign seeks to end:
- Occupational segregation
- Pay secrecy and retaliation for discussing pay
- Hiring and promotion discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and caregiving
- Wage theft and an inadequate minimum wage
As a majority of women serve as the breadwinner, co-breadwinner, or financial contributor to their families, these inequalities hurt all of us. That’s why this Women’s Equality Day, we must step up and call for equal pay for equal work. Start today: tell your legislator that you support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
As we move closer to 100 years of women’s suffrage, it’s time to make equal pay a reality in California and across the country.
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