The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap

Women make up nearly half of the workforce in this country. Yet, on average, earn less than their male counterparts. Women working full time earn, on average, 79 cents to every dollar a white man makes. For women of color, the pay gap widens considerably. Black women make 64 cents, American Indian women 59 cents and Hispanic women 54 cents to the white male dollar.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal to pay women less based solely on their gender, with other demonstrable qualifications such as seniority, experience or merit listed as the only reasons to enact differing pay scales.

More recently, the Obama administration issued an executive action that will require companies with 100 employees or more to report pay data broken down by gender. These new equal pay rules go into effect in 2017.

Meantime, at the state level, passing legislation for a higher minimum wage, paid parental leave, protecting pregnant workers and improvement of reproductive rights will bolster how women are valued in the workplace.

Washington Community Action Network for the Stand With Women Campaign

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From trauma to civic engagement: Tacoma mom breaks decades long silence to protect vulnerable teens

by Roberta Riley

MykleAnn kept it bottled up all these years, the memory of the night she’d gone off to a party in Tacoma, looking for fun, and wound up getting raped.

She was just 14 years old.

Bloodied and bruised, she never uttered a word to anyone out of fear that if her father found out, he would kill the guy and end up in prison.

She became pregnant as a result of the rape. “Thank goodness Indian Health Services and Planned Parenthood were there for me when I needed help,” she reflects. “I probably wouldn’t have graduated from high school and gone to college if I’d been forced to go through with that pregnancy.”

Decades later, at midlife, MykleAnn is the mother of three. She works at the Muckleshoot Casino and lives in Tacoma, WA. Her father passed, never knowing of the trauma she bore alone all those years ago.

Recently, however, MykleAnn learned that a state senator from her area, Steve O’Ban, was sponsoring legislation to cut off Planned Parenthood funding and restrict the rights of teenagers to have abortions without involving their parents. She was outraged. Why would this senator endanger vulnerable young women with such restrictions?

She knows from her own painful experience that some teens simply cannot safely tell their parents. Fear of her father’s anger and violence literally kept her mute for decades. And so, on behalf of all the younger women who are too frightened to tell their stories, MykleAnn decided to break her silence.

She joined a group protesting outside of O’Ban’s office. “Women need access to birth control and abortion,” she chanted. She hoped for the opportunity to look this man in the eye, share her story and ask him to rethink his proposed legislation.

O’Ban did not come outside.

But MckleAnn didn’t give up. Recently, she attended a public forum for the 28th Legislative District of Washington.

Though O’Ban was invited, he didn’t show up.

But that didn’t stop MykleAnn. When the time came, she stepped up to the microphone and told her story. One could have heard a pin drop in the room as she choked back tears. Then, with the determination of a mother protecting her loved ones, she explained why it’s so important for teens to be able seek the confidential advice of trained medical professionals. As she spoke, a burden lifted and MykleAnn discovered her voice as a citizen.

Check out her video here

Stand With Women or Stand in the Way

20150918_115234When you support working families, as Washington CAN! has always done, it means you stand for policies that support women. In today’s world we know that more women than ever are working outside the home, heading households, and leading in the workplace. However, many workplace policies continue to leave women behind, particularly low-income women and women of color.

Because it’s time to fight back, Washington CAN! has recently joined with the Women’s Equality Center and their national Stand With Women campaign to make sure all women have a fair opportunity to be equal partners in the new economy. This means equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave to care for self and loved ones, reproductive freedom, and a higher minimum wage.

To quote from the campaign’s website: “Politicians must pick a side: will they stand with women by taking action to advance fairness, opportunity and freedom … or will they stand in the way.” It’s time to make fairness, opportunity and reproductive freedom for women a reality in our country. Therefore Washington CAN! will be demanding that our elected representatives stand with women for the change we need.

We must take action now to ensure that women get fair treatment in all aspects of our society. The system has been rigged against women for too long. We are taking part in a Stand with Women movement. We are committing to Stand with Women for freedom, for family values, for fairness and for opportunity.

Will you join us and Stand with Women?