April 12, 2016 is Equal Pay Day, the day that symbolizes how far into this year a white woman needs to work to make the same amount as a white man did in 2015 due to the gender pay gap.
Nationally, women earn just 79 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. In Maine, white women earn 78.9% of what white men earn. It is important to note that for Black, Latina, and Native women, the gap is significantly greater and they must work much farther into this year to make the same as a white man did in 2015. Black women make just 63% of what white men make, Native women make only 59% of what white men make, and Latina women make just 54% of what white men make. That means an average Latina woman will need to work through October 2016—ten extra months—to earn what an average white man earned in 2015. Transgender women, immigrants, mothers, and women with disabilities all also face larger pay gaps.
The gender pay gap adds up to a significant loss in earnings across women’s lives—with a woman working full time losing more than $400,000 during her working years. This wage inequality exists across education levels and in nearly 98% of occupations.
In Maine, the gap adds up to an annual loss of income of $9,647 for women working full time. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, Maine women who are employed full time lose an average combined total of nearly two billion dollars every year due to the wage gap. With nearly 55,000 Maine families headed by women—and 17,513 of those families struggling with poverty—closing the wage gap would do much to improve the financial stability of women and their families as well as boost the economy of our state.
There are clear policy solutions to end this disparity. In Maine, we can:
Federally, we can:
In 2016, most women need to work, but because women are the primary caregivers for their families—whether caring for children, aging parents, or other family members—women are disproportionately affected by outdated workplace policies that do not reflect the realities of families or the workforce in the 21st century.
If we close the wage gap, women will have more money to spend in our communities. The average Maine women would be able to:
As our executive director Eliza Townsend reflected, “If we want to move Maine’s economy forward, we must ensure that women can meet their very real responsibilities both at work and at home. We know the solutions to do this and to close the gender wage gap. The Maine Women’s Lobby calls on our elected leaders to join us in working to pass policies that would create a more prosperous future for all Mainers.”
If you want to support our work to advance policies that will close the gender pay gap, please consider making a donation at bit.ly/MWLdonate. Be sure to subscribe to our Action Alert & E-News for opportunities to take action on the issues that matter to you.
The Legislature is considering a bill to better protect the health and safety of Maine children in child care. LD 1689, An Act To Protect Children in the State from Possible Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse by Persons Who Have Been Convicted of Crimes, would require Maine to comply with the federal law and use fingerprints to conduct a background check for licensed child care providers.
It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to provide Maine children a safe environment. Federal law requires all states to begin implementation of a comprehensive background check system that includes fingerprinting by September 30, 2017. The LePage administration is refusing to comply with this requirement—making Maine the onlystate that won’t be in compliance.
LD 1689 would ensure that Maine complies with this federal law. Under current licensing regulations, all staff and volunteers must have a background check, which includes a State Bureau of Investigation check and a State Child Protective check. These are important for protecting Maine kids, but they do not go far enough. The fingerprinting required by this bill would identify if someone has a criminal history from another state.
What would it say about us if we risked our youngest children’s well-being by knowingly, purposefully refusing to screen providers who will care for them? Maine should protect children from possible sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by someone who has been convicted of a crime in Maine or another state.
It’s important for our legislators to know that we want Maine to comply with this common-sense federal law. Ask them to support LD 1689 today: bit.ly/1Sh3jdJ.
Action is needed to increase access to affordable health care coverage for all Maine people!
We expect the legislature to vote on LD 633, An Act To Improve the Health of Maine Citizens and the Economy of Maine by Providing Affordable Market-based Coverage Options to Low-income Uninsured Citizens, this week.
Please contact your legislators today and urge them to support LD 633. It’s long past time for Maine to accept the federal health care dollars that have been set aside for our state to provide health coverage to those who desperately need it.
LD 633 will save lives, save money, and create jobs. It’s a win for us all.
LD 633 draws from the experience of other states that are using federal health care funds to prevent and reduce chronic disease and combat drug addiction. Maine families with low incomes would have access to lifesaving health screenings and treatment, as well as the security of knowing they have quality health coverage to get care when they need it.
Accepting federal funds will protect rural hospitals and health clinics throughout Maine, improve access to preventive and life-saving health care, help our state address drug addiction, and create savings in our state budget.
Maine is falling behind the thirty-two states that have accepted federal health care funds to increase access to health coverage through Medicaid.
You can email your legislators today by going to bit.ly/HCaction.
Find more information on how your county would benefit, including number of people who would gain coverage, jobs created, and other economic activity in the fact sheets found on the Cover Maine Now! coalition website.
Thank you for contacting your legislators to let them know that expanding access to health care matters to Maine people.
See all: Uncategorized21 Mar 2016