Today President Obama hosted the White House Forum on Women and the Economy in which a panel of women, hosted by MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, discussed issues surrounding economic security, healthcare, retirement, education and violence against women and girls.
A statement from the White House included the following comments:
“From access to affordable education for young women to supporting women at work and at home, to ensuring security for women in retirement, the administration is committed, across all agencies and departments, to do everything it can to create an economy built to last for America’s women.”
In contast, Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a bill just yesterday, repealing a 2009 law intended to discourage employers from engaging in wage discrimination against women in the workplace. After attempts to ban collective bargaining for union workers in Wisconsin, Walker has made headlines nationwide and faces a recall election in May for his anti-worker policies as well as potentially criminal activities involving campaign staffers (investigation still ongoing). From the Huffington Post piece titled, ‘Scott Walker Quietly Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law’:
Sara Finger, executive director of WAWH, said that the repeal was a “demoralizing attack on women’s rights, health, and wellbeing.”
“Economic security is a women’s health issue,” she said. “The salary women are paid directly affects the type and frequency of health care services they are able to access. At a time when women’s health services are becoming more expensive and harder to obtain, financial stability is essential to maintain steady access.”
What has been dubbed the Republican ‘war on women’ (remember the contraception ‘debate’ and Rush Limbaugh’s controversial tirade that ensued, costing Limbaugh 150+ advertisers?) may be something RNC Chairman Reince Preibus would like to deny or dismiss as a ‘ficticious’ issue contrived by the media (see video to the left), but is clearly a problem, evidence of which can be found across the country. In an interview with USA Today, Neil Newhouse, a pollster for Mitt Romney’s campaign, said that the problem is a broad based, GOP branding problem:
“If there’s a gender gap, it goes beyond Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum to a partisan gender gap. It’s not Romney-specific. I would argue that it’s broader than that.”
The Obama administration’s Council on Women and Girls simultaneously released a report titled ‘The Key to an Economy Meant to Last’ in which Senior Advisor and Chairwoman, Valerie Jarrett writes in part:
Today, more than ever before, women are playing a central role in the American economy. Women now make up nearly 50% of our workforce, are a growing number of breadwinners in their families, and are the majority of students in our colleges and graduate schools. American women own 30% of small businesses, which generate $1.2 trillion a year in sales…
Consequently, when women still face barriers to participation in the workplace and marketplace, that is not just a “women’s issue.” When women still make just 77 cents for every dollar men make, or have to pay more for their health care than men, that hurts entire families who cannot afford to lose part of their income each month. When a job does not offer adequate family leave or sick leave, that also hurts men who need to help care for a new baby or an ailing parent. When women entrepreneurs continue to have a harder time accessing the capital they need to start and sustain their businesses, create new jobs, and sell new products, that hurts our entire economy. And when approximately two million women fall victim to domestic violence each year, that costs our nation $8 billion annually in lost productivity and health care expenses and results in the loss of 8 million paid days of work a year.
The statistics are very clear: The success of American women is critical for the success of American families and the American economy. And in order for our nation to keep moving forward, women must be able to help provide for their families and contribute fully to our economy.
…Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has worked tirelessly to promote equality; enhance women’s economic security; and ensure that women have the opportunities they need and deserve at every stage of their lives, from obtaining training and education, to succeeding in the workforce and supporting their families, to retiring with dignity and security.
This report provides a sampling of the policies, programs, and legislative initiatives that have resulted from these efforts. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a reflection of the depth and breadth of the President’s commitment to the lives of women.
Read the full report, titled ‘Keeping America’s Women Moving Forward – The Key to an Economy Built to Last’ for details.
For those in Colorado, there will be two opportunities, including a rally and and evening social next Tuesday, April 17, to support equal pay for women in Colorado:
Equal = Pay Day
- Local Chapter: Colorado
When: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 – 12:00pm – 7:30pm MDT
Daytime Rally at 12:00pm, Auraria Campus, Tivoli Commons. 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver
Evening Social at 5:30pm, The Living Room. 1055 Broadway, Denver
What: Join us for two opportunties to support Equal Pay. Wear the color red (since women are still in the red) and attend the daytime rally to show your support for equal pay for equal work.
Then in the evening celebrate the progress we’ve made and find out how you can help support 9to5’s efforts to close the pay gap.
Why: Working women in Colorado lose approximately $6,751,504,078 each year due to the pay gap. Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color. Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 17, 2012. This date symbolizes how far into 2012 women must work to earn what men earned in 2011.
For more information: Contact 9to5 at 303.628.0925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.