Let’s Win the War on Poverty in Our Lifetime
As we mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, here are three actions you can take right now to help secure a strong economic future for all women and families — and join a legacy of AAUW members fighting for the same goal. After you take one, two, or all three of these actions, we hope you sign up for AAUW Action Network so you can find out the latest ways to continue the War on Poverty.
Join fair pay icon Lilly Ledbetter in urging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
If women were paid the same as their male peers are, we could cut the poverty rate in half, according to an analysis in The Shriver Report’s A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink. The report, for which AAUW was a resource, also found that the U.S. economy would be $448 billion stronger if women received the equal pay we deserve. So what’s holding us back? Congress keeps dragging its feet on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the outdated Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prevent the law from fulfilling its promise of equal pay for equal work. With the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act happening in 2014 as well, now is the perfect time to join Lilly in urging your members of Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
With today’s minimum wage stuck at $7.25 per hour, someone who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year will take home less than $20,000 a year. That’s below the poverty line for a family of four. Minimum wage is a working woman’s issue — two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women — and it is especially important for women of color. Take two minutes to write your members of Congress and urge them to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would gradually increase the minimum wage over the next three years until it eventually reaches $10.10.
Write a letter to your local paper about the need for policies to reduce poverty.
As a reader of our website, you know that we need policies at the federal, state, and local levels to keep women and families out of poverty — but does everyone else in your community know that? A letter to the editor is a great way to educate your friends and neighbors about issues such as equal pay, minimum wage, and anti-hunger programs. AAUW’s how-to resource will walk you through how to write your letter from start to finish!
Just like AAUW women who came before us, we’re in it for the long haul. It’s been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty, but the problem isn’t going away — in recent years, we have seen rates approaching the highs of the 1960s. It’s up to us to finish this fight. I know I’m motivated — are you?