Women’s Equality Day Builds Toward a Stronger California
“I’m so proud to be a Californian because California leads the way.” – Rep. Doris Matsui, Aug 26, 2015
Over 100 advocates, politicians, and community members gathered on the steps of the California State Capitol on August 26 to assert the political power of women through lifting up the Stronger California Legislative Agenda.
The Agenda seeks to ensure women’s economic security through access to: quality child care, fair pay and job opportunities, family-friendly workplaces, and anti-poverty programs.
The day was Women’s Equality Day, which marks the passage of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution giving women the right (but not always the opportunity) to vote. This was one of the early steps toward ensuring women’s access to the political process, so it was fitting to welcome U.S. Representative Doris Matsui, State Senators Holly Mitchell and Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. The Stronger California Advocates Network, which put on the rally, was also proud to welcome a coalition of interfaith leaders including Rev. Joy Johnson of Sacramento. Women workers like Maria de Jesus, from Mujeres Unidas y Activas, and Kamica Cooper, a member of Parent Voices, shared their personal stories with media and the audience. Each of the women spoke about the intersection of the economic issues they face as they struggle to provide for their families and build toward their futures.
“I was so moved to see the many people who gathered in Sacramento in support of women’s economic security,” said Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates and co-chair of the Stronger California campaign. “Women across this state don’t get to pick and choose which economic barrier they’re going to surmount today. They deal with poverty and lack of access to childcare and job opportunities, they’re trying to build their assets while going to school and working. It’s time for politicians to tackle these issues comprehensively as well.”
The rally and Women’s Equality Day came at a time of great forward momentum for the Stronger California campaign, and members of the Stronger California Advocates Network spent much of Women’s Equality Day visiting legislators to urge their support of critical bills. Chaired by Equal Rights Advocates, the Network boasts 30 Roundtable members and dozens more Network Supporters from across the state.
Over 60% of the two dozen bill Agenda package has moved through the State Legislature, and Governor Jerry Brown has already expressed his intent to sign one bill, SB 358 or the Fair Pay Act. Other equal pay bills, like one that requires companies that do business with the state be transparent about what they pay women or another giving workers flexibility during child care emergencies, have seen immense support. Some, like Senate Bill 406, still need your support.
If you’d like more information about the Stronger California campaign, visit strongercalifornia.org. If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for ERA’s mailing list to get regular updates on this campaign and the rest of our work fighting to expand and protect the opportunities of women. Or you can donate online to ensure our work can continue.
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