Ms. Foundation on Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the State of Economic Security for Women
NEW YORK (January 29, 2021) – Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger released the following statement on the Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the state of economic security for women:
“Today, on the 11th anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Ms. Foundation for Women recognizes the Obama-Biden administration for prioritizing this step to help safeguard women’s right to access the courts when fighting against pay discrimination, and also call on the Biden-Harris administration to expand on this mandate.
“In 2020, women worked at least three months longer than men to earn the same wages and, in 2021, the date of pay equity for women will be delayed even longer. But, in the midst of a global pandemic, that is just part of the problem. Women who are on the frontlines caring for communities and leading movements are too often left without access or paid leave necessary to seek care for our own health and mental health needs. Women are juggling jobs and households during a pandemic that has erased the boundaries between home, classroom and office, and yet we have never been paid fairly for our labor and have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downfall caused by COVID-19. Last month, women accounted for all lost jobs, losing 156,000 jobs while men gained 16,000 jobs, with Black and Latina women largely making up the sectors that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. As hourly employees and contract workers, their livelihoods are at risk now more than ever.
“Next week is also the Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and we would be remiss not to call out that this legislation is not an adequate safety net for our caregivers. Fewer than 60% of workers have access to coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act, leaving many women, and disproportionately women of color, to choose between caring for sick family members and providing for them financially.
“More than 2 million women have left the workforce since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, with a December report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlighting that women were leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men.
“The first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration are critically important to address the continued gender pay equity gap and the lack of economic support that women in this country face. The effects of this pandemic have taken a severe toll on women, and continue to set back the clock on decades of feminist progress. Pay equity and adequate paid family leave are long overdue. We urge this administration to do what it is right and close the gap.
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For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in women’s lives. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world where every person’s worth and dignity are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.