By now, everyone has heard about the US Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT)--their 2nd consecutive World Cup win was thrilling and exciting, inspiring young women and girls to keep practicing!
But I suspect everyone has also heard about their suit against the US Soccer Federation for equal pay. March 2019 is actually the FOURTH time that the USWNT has sued for equal pay: the other 3 times were 1999, 2009, and 2016. And actually, in 1999, they also sued for fair treatment as part of a maternity leave policy: only 20 years ago, players were not allowed to return to work following the birth of a baby. The Washington Post described giving birth as a "career-ending injury"!
On average, the pay gap in 2019 for women in the US is about 79%*--we are paid on average 79 cents for each dollar an average man earns. The pay gap for the women on the USWNT is much worse: their pay for winning an exhibition game during the year is 8%--only 8 cents per dollar that the men earn! (If they LOSE that exhibition game, the pay gap is even lower: $0!) For winning the World Cup, the gap is still huge: the women earn 21 cents on the men's dollar.
We on the MDWA Legislative committee appreciate the spotlight that the USWNT has shone on the severe pay gap that women still face. For those that believe that the Equal Rights Amendment isn't needed because women are already equal and don't need any protections under the Constitution, the USWNT is proving just the opposite!
*based on an online salary survey of 1.8 million people--see www.payscale.com
On June 10, 1919, WI became the first state to ratify the 19th amendment granting the right to vote to women! It was a real competition between WI and IL to be first--WI won due to an error in wording in the IL bill.
Thus today kicks off a year+ centennial celebration of both the 19th amendment and the League of Women Voters (which was established after women's suffrage was accomplished). MDWA is one of the sponsoring women's organizations for the celebration events: please contact me if you're interested in learning more and to get involved!
Irene Strohbeen firstname.lastname@example.org
100 years ago, Congress passed the bill for women's suffrage (women's right to vote), sending it to the President for signature and then to the states for ratification. And then a few days later on June 10, WI became the first state to ratify!
It's been a long road; let's use our votes to ensure our elected officials support women's rights as captured in the ERA!
At today's April MDWA meeting, there was so much to cover on closing the pay gap that I forgot to mention the big news for the Equal Rights Amendment: Rep. Nadler of the House Judiciary committee has agreed to hold a hearing on the ERA on April 30. This will be the first Congressional hearing on this topic in 36 years!
Tuesday April 2 is the recognized Equal Pay Day for white women for 2019; it symbolizes how far into the next workweek women must work to earn as much as her male counterpart earned in the previous week. And it's been on a Tuesday in April for many years--April designates the same symbolism for annual vs weekly wages.
The National Committee on Pay Equity asks that we all
Wear RED on Equal Pay Day
to symbolize how far women
and minorities are "in the red" with their pay!
The House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act just yesterday (March 27, 2019), but it's not likely that the Senate will take it up for a vote. This bill would close loopholes of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that has not sufficiently closed the pay gap: it would prevent employers from using salary history in hiring decisions, eliminate retaliation against employees who share their pay data with other employees, and require reporting of pay to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The Legislative committee will continue to learn more about equal pay, as well as the Equal Rights Amendment, and I'll post more here throughout April in recognition of Equal Pay Day.
As always, please help to spread the word and raise awareness!
Irene Strohbeen, co-chair MDWA Legislative Committee
Mid-Day Women's Alliance
P.O. Box 334, Appleton, WI 54912
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