Equal Pay Day Speech by Gay Trachsel of AAUW & League of Women Voters

We were so happy to partner with such great and historic women's organizations in the Twin Ports area for the Equal Pay Day Rally today. 

The event's founders, AAUW Duluth, had a member speak about where we're at with pay inequality. She did such an incredible job that we wanted to make sure her speech did not go unpublished. She agreed to let us feature this here. 

Here is her message to the Duluth-Superior communities: 

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In 1963, president Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act.  1963!! Here we are in 2017, 54 years later where women still have to work many months into the next year to match the earnings of men of the previous year.  

  • For White women it is this month April.
  • For African American Women, the month is August.
  • For Native American Women, the month is September.
  • For Latina Women it comes in November!

We are talking 4, 8 9 11 months into the next year before women catch up to men's earnings.

The global wage gap is the "biggest Robbery in History" declared by UN Women, the international organization focused on the elimination of discrimination against women and girls.  Also the World Economic Forum said at present rates, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap and 170 years to achieve economic equality among men and women.

There are real consequences to this inequality.  This becomes a family issue.   Many households have women as the primary earner.  This limits their choices to make ends meet, to buy homes, health care, nutritional choices,  education limits and in lifetime earnings-- meaning reducing retirement savings and benefits.  A 1999 study study found that nationwide, working families lose $200 billion in income annually due to the wage gap.

The American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters has been committed to promoting equity for all women.  Their public policy supports fairness in compensation, equitable access and advancement in employment and vigorous enforcement of employment and anti discrimination statues.  Both organizations believes equal pay is a matter of simple Justice.  In Minnesota, District 8, our district, we have the largest wage gap.  Women today are working more hours for longer periods in their lives and struggling to juggle work with family.

Workplaces that provide family health insurance, quality family care options, alternative sick leave options and job training and educational opportunities not only help support individual women workers but also contribute to healthier families and more productive communities.

 Let this be our legacy to the young girls and women of the future - eliminating the wage gap.