Keep the ChangeJanuary 06, 2009
There’s a buzz around Washington and the AAUW office this week, for many reasons. The Obama family arrived in town over the weekend, creating an air of excitement and lots of road closures. Senators and representatives also returned to town, with new members sworn in on Tuesday, joining returning members to convene the 111th Congress. And, as we look to the potential of these changes, we are also excited that AAUW is kicking off the new year with a new pay equity campaign called Keep the Change until Women Have Real Change.
According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings reached almost 78 cents to the dollar for full-time, year-round workers, up from just under 77 cents in 2006. While it’s true that this is the narrowest the wage gap has ever been, it’s only an additional one cent on the dollar. Come on, one cent is just chump change; it isn’t real change.
Women like us have been hard at work to earn our extra penny, but up until now Congress has failed to pass legislation that would give women effective equal pay protections. That’s why AAUW is telling Congress that passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an urgent priority, and that they should Keep the Change until Women Have Real Change.
And guess what? Congress is listening! This week, the House will be voting on these two critical pieces of legislation, and they need to hear from you! Urge your representative to support the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act when they come up for a vote this week to ensure the change hard-working Americans need to receive equal pay.
Spread the word and get others involved by sending a Keep the Change e-card to friends and family. AAUW also has Keep the Change posters and lapel stickers available for use at AAUW events, meetings, programs, even protests that bear the slogan “Keep the Change until Women Have Real Change,” and the penny graphic shown above. These are available at no charge, while supplies last, by filling out the online request form. Visit AAUW’s Pay Equity web page to learn more about AAUW’s Keep the Change until Women Have Real Change campaign. You can also download AAUW’s Pay Equity Resource Kit for ideas, tips, and resources to use in your community throughout the year.
Women tend to be hurt first and worst during economic downturns. Promoting the economic security of all Americans is critical, especially in these tough times we’re all facing. Equal pay for equal work is a necessary step toward achieving this goal. Join AAUW in urging Congress to pass these critical pieces of legislation. Send your message to your representative now!