You’ve probably heard that men are paid more than women for doing the same job. Compared to white men, white women earn 78 cents to every dollar a man earns. African American women make 64 cents, and Latina, 54 cents. The gender pay gap in the United States has been found in 99.6% of occupations and affects women of all ages, races, and education levels.
While we do have laws against wage discrimination, they have loopholes and aren’t always enforced. Why? Because there is no constitutional protection against gender discrimination.
The Trump administration has already demonstrated why it’s dangerous to leave gender equality out of the constitution. In 2017, just a day before Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s earnings “catch up” to men’s earnings from the previous year, Trump rolled back President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) simply states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” It was passed in 1972 by Congress with overwhelming bi-partisan support and needed to be ratified by 38 states in order to be added to the Constitution. To this day, only 36 states have ratified the ERA. Despite having an equal protection clause in its state constitution since 1970, Illinois has yet to ratify the ERA. It is time to fix that!
The Illinois General Assembly is expected to vote on the ERA (SJRCA4) this spring.
This year Equal Pay Day is “celebrated” on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. For those that cannot make it to Springfield to lobby for the ERA, we will be hosting rallies in Chicago and Peoria. Peoria’s rally will be held downtown at the Peoria County Courthouse. Let’s send a message to our legislators that they must support the ERA and vote YES! We are recruiting for men and women to wear black and hold signs with their respective pay gap ratio.
We even have some signs made up already.