This week marks the 165th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention in U.S. history. The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton for the convention asserted that “all men and women are created equal” and called for legal and societal reforms reflecting that equal status, including “securing to woman an equal participation with men in the various trades, professions, and commerce” and – more radical still – granting women the right to vote.
This afternoon on Capitol Hill, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and several other House Democrats – women and men – gathered with women’s rights advocates of today to recognize the immense progress that women have made since 1848 – as well as the work yet to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunity to support themselves and their families. To address the challenges facing women in the 21st century, they unveiled an important new initiative, “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families.”
As Leader Pelosi observed in her remarks, women now make up close to half of the U.S. workforce, and more families rely on women’s income than ever before. At the same time, women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers, and the typical woman working full time, year round is paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. Workplace policies that fail to accommodate the needs of working parents and inadequate access to high-quality, affordable child care compound economic challenges for many women. Throughout their lives, women are more likely than men to experience poverty.
The economic agenda released today recognizes these numerous, interrelated barriers to women’s economic security and aims to address them in a comprehensive way, calling for legislation and other reforms in three key areas:
- Pay, including raising the minimum wage, promoting fair pay for women, and protecting pregnant workers from discrimination on the job;
- Work and family balance, including paid sick leave and paid leave for family and medical reasons; and
- Child care, including President Obama’s early care and education initiative, other initiatives to promote high-quality, affordable child care, and improvements to tax credits that help families pay for child care.
Here at NWLC, we work every day to advance a wide range of these policies and help women achieve economic security for themselves and their families. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #womensucceed. To learn more about what our leaders in Washington – and you – can do to help, take a look at our resources on the topics below: