YWCA USA staff had the opportunity to attend a talk at Turner4D about the women’s movement in the 21st century. The talk featured experts in the history and progress of the women’s movement both domestically and internationally. Celinda Lake of Lake Research and Partners covered the public perceptions of the women’s movement in the US. In her presentation, she gave some startling numbers about the pay gap that continues to persist.
While it is true that women earn 77 cents to the man’s dollar, the number decreases when you take race and ethnicity into account; African-American women make 64 cents to the white man’s dollar, and Latinas make 56 cents. Women hold 60% of all undergraduate and Master’s degrees yet only 8.1% of top earners are women. These numbers are grim, but voters overwhelmingly support policies that will change the statistics—93% of voters favor ensuring equal pay for equal work.
YWCA USA views equal pay as a social justice issue that makes a huge impact on women and their families —women who are paid equally and fairly are able to better provide for themselves and their family and as a result, equal pay has the potential to strengthen whole communities. The pay gap is influenced by a number of factors. For example, a low minimum wage contributes to the wide pay gap, as women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers. As such, the YWCA agrees with most of the voting public — that women deserve to be paid as much for their work as men. We believe that issues like minimum wage and paid sick days work hand in hand to help lift women and families out of poverty and to help women achieve a better quality of life. We support initiatives that help women’s economic empowerment, including policies that raise the minimum wage, protect overtime, ensure paid sick days, encourage fair scheduling practices – passing such policies will narrow the gender wage gap.
Join us in demanding that Congress make working families a priority – contact your Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the Healthy Families Act.