Monday, March 28, 2011

Still More History to Be Made

Sometimes as an organizer for 9to5 I’m asked, “Is the work you do really necessary? It's 2011, are working conditions still really that bad for women?”  My answer is always emphatically YES! Yes, women are obtaining more degrees than men at virtually every level of education; yes, in 1993 we were able to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act; and yes, because of the tenacious organizing efforts of women we have been able to decrease pregnancy discrimination and gender-based discrimination in the workplace. We at 9to5 celebrate all of these accomplishments, especially during Women’s History Month, but there is still so much more work that needs to be done.

Women still make approximately 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color that wage gap is even greater! In the United States, the average African American woman working full-time is paid $30,000 a year, while a white male with similar experience and educational background makes $50,767. That’s a wage gap of approximately $20,000 a year. For Latino women the gap is closer to $25,000 a year. In 2011 many working mothers still don’t have access to a single paid sick day, and only 1 in 5 low wage workers have access to paid sick days on their jobs.  So although we’ve come a long way and we rejoice over our accomplishments during Women’s History Month, we are aware of the history that still needs to be made. We are prepared to make it!

-Charmaine Davis, 9to5 Atlanta Lead Organizer

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