Just a quick one because I wanted to share this compelling infographic designed by the National Women’s Law Center. Per the email they sent around:
[Last week] Senator Harkin and Representative Miller introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. This bill would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, then provide for automatic adjustments linked to changes in the cost of living. The bill would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, which has been frozen at just $2.13 per hour for more than 20 years. And let’s not forget President Obama’s words of support for increasing the minimum wage in his most recent State of the Union address.
The bottom line is that minimum wage is a critical issue for women. Today, women are the vast majority of minimum wage earners across the country, which is one of the reasons that they still regularly earn less than men. Raising the federal minimum wage would boost the earning power of millions of women and help close the gender wage gap.
Help spread the word about this critical issue by sharing our graphic on Facebook today.
Sometimes I get a little nervous when we decide to make a social justice issue into a “women’s issue,” because I’m afraid that means we’ll all take it less seriously. Case in point: Everyone keeps yelling about how Marissa Mayer’s decision to get all her work-from-home employees into the Yahoo! office is so bad for working mothers. It absolutely is (and the hypocrisy of her call — while installing a nursery for her own baby in her office but failing to offer an onsite daycare for any other employees — boggles the mind). But it’s also terrible for working fathers, many of whom enjoy seeing and parenting their children on a daily basis, and frankly, for anyone who values their work/life balance. Neither children nor ovaries are prerequisites for wanting some control over your schedule.
And so, with minimum wage, I want to acknowledge that there are millions of men struggling to make ends meet on these paychecks. But it is striking how many more women are impacted because women are more likely to be in the kinds of jobs that society has decided just aren’t worth paying more. I spent last week on assignment for a story (that I’ll be able to tell you more about when it runs later this year) about women who have worked these kinds of jobs for years, yet they still can’t feed their own kids without food stamps and other government programs — and often, not even with that assistance. Yet they are doing exhausting and important work, involving significant emotional labor: Caring for our children and elderly, tending to our homes, and/or feeding us.
There is something very wrong with that picture. So I hope you’ll read up on the minimum wage issue (NWLC has a great resource page; the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has a good fact sheet on how the gender wage gap is not getting any smaller). And please, share the graphic, and tell your senators to support the increase.