Fighting for Women's Equality

My Wish this Mother’s Day: Workplace Equality

May 14, 2017 | by

Equal Rights Advocates has been fighting to support the equal rights of women and girls for over 43 years. Their work impacts millions of women, including myself.

My name is Aileen Rizo. I am a wife and mother of three beautiful daughters. I used to work for the Fresno County Office of Education as a math consultant, and I loved my job. 

But I was the victim of pay discrimination. In 2012, I found out that a male co-worker in the same position made significantly more money than I did. In fact, $12,000 more per year. I was more qualified. I had a master’s degree, he did not. I had seniority and more experience. 

It was hard for me to believe there was such a disparity. I really thought it was a mistake. My bosses told me it was no mistake – it was policy. My employer explained that a new hire gets paid based on what he or she made at their last job. They used that system for over 19 years claiming it was neutral and objective.

I knew it was wrong and sued. For me, my fight was about equality. I felt that if women could not be equal in the workplace then how could women be equal anywhere else.

Equal Rights Advocates immediately had my back. They stepped up and fought for equal pay for me, for my girls, and for future generations of women. ERA co-sponsored and championed the California Fair Pay Act, one of the toughest equal pay laws in the nation. But it’s still not enough.

My employer justified paying me less than my male colleagues because of my prior salary. That’s why ERA and their partners in the Stronger California Advocates Network are fighting for passage of Assembly Bill 168, which would prohibit employers from setting pay based on an employee’s prior salary.

This bill would ensure that no woman in California has to follow in my footsteps.

On behalf of my 3 daughters, myself, and my own mom, I hope you will consider supporting ERA this Mother’s Day. Stand with an organization that celebrates the strength, compassion, and resiliency of mother’s everywhere, every day. 

I thank you for considering joining me in support of this trusted and impactful organization.

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