Friday, January 29, 2016

One Step Closer to Closing the Wage Gap!

Thursday, January 28th, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed a landmark pay equity bill
sponsored by Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) and Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville). 
While Massachusetts boasted the nation’s first pay equity law over 70 years ago, MA women
continue to make, on average, 82 cents to every dollar made by men.  While this percentage is
slightly higher than the national average of 79 cents, MA women lost $11,152 to the wage gap in
2014 according to the American Association of University Women
(http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2012/12/10/massachusetts-women-forefront-
pay-gap/GgRg7bLVbAWMKqCpae3trK/story.html).  Women of color are even worse off, with
Black women making 64 cents and Hispanic women 54 cents to every white man’s dollar
(http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0882775.html).  At-Large Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu
illuminated the devastating effects of pay inequality to the Dorchester Reporter.  Citing the
Boston Redevelopment Authority’s 2015 report, Councilor Wu noted that women-headed
households make up 35.5% of family households in Boston, yet 64.3% of households living in
poverty (http://www.dotnews.com/2016/pay-equity-bill-ready-debate-senate). 
The pay equity bill makes three key changes to current business practices.  First, employers may
no longer ask applicants to disclose their salaries from previous jobs, a tactic which
disadvantages women as they tend to make less than men and wrongly implies a lower quality of
work in a previous position.  Secondly, the bill intentionally defines “comparable work” as work
“similar in content” that requires “similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under
similar working conditions” (http://www.dotnews.com/2016/pay-equity-bill-ready-debate-
senate).  Thirdly, employees may discuss their salaries without fear of termination and/or
retaliation from their employer if they file a complaint regarding pay inequity. 
In combination with greater transparency and harsher penalties for discrimination on the basis of
gender, pay equity advocates appear optimistic about this bill. “This legislation takes important
steps to encourage awareness, facilitate conversation, and ultimately, ensure equality,” said State
Treasurer Deb Goldberg.  “Equal pay is not a partisan issue, nor solely a women’s issue.  It is a
family issue, and it affects the economic health and well-being of our entire state”
(http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2016/01/28/mass-senate-passes-pay-equity-bill-state-
treasurer-goldberg-support-reactions/).  Sponsor Senator Spilka remarked, “When women thrive,
businesses, communities and the Commonwealth as a whole thrive”
(http://www.massnow.org/2015/new-equal-pay-coalition-files-comprehensive-pay-equity-
legislation).
Chairwoman Spilka and Sen. Jehlen pushed for this bill with the strong backing of women’s-
centered organizations committed to ending income disparities, including the Equal Pay
Coalition initiated by Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass
NOW), the Women’s Bar Association (WBA), the Mass Commission on the Status of Women
(MCSW) and the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association.  The bill now moves to the House of Representatives under the sponsorship of Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) and Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Votes for Women!

To win the vote for women, women across the world risked their lives, the basic right of voting is still fought around the world. The 2015 film Suffragetteis inspired by the early-20th-century campaign of the Suffragettes, who were activists for Women’s Suffrage – the right of women to vote. Now almost 100 years since women have gotten the vote, the votes of women are increasingly important; and there is even the chance of the United States having it's first female President. Though women have come so far in the fight to achieve equality, there is still so much to do and we do not forget our Suffragette sisters who fought for the fundamental right to vote.

On Thursday, October 29, Focus Films is hosting an early screening of their new film Suffragette at the Kendall Square Theatre in Boston.  The event will begin at 7 pm, and all are welcome to RSVP using the link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bg8s8iMWHEt0Ey88PXMWmVneTxw4eVBfODWJWmyCY9Q/viewform


Stop Accusing Powerful Women of Shouting

“I’m not shouting.  It’s just when women talk, some people think we’re shouting.” –Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton spoke some serious truth to power this past week at the Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington D.C.  After enduring a grueling, hostile, 11-hour hearing on the Benghazi terror attack, Clinton took to the stage and proved to the American public that she will not be silenced.  With respect to the issue of gun control, an issue Clinton has pledged to address as President of the United States with or without Congressional approval, the former Secretary of State came out swinging and pledged to remain vocal about the issue despite others criticizing her for “shouting.”

This quote perfectly encapsulates the struggle many women face in American politics today.  When women care deeply about issues and demonstrate a clear passion and commitment to resolve them, their efforts are frequently invalidated and belittled.  Say what you will about Hillary Clinton and her politics, but attacking her for bringing gun control to the forefront of the American political discourse is petty and childish.  Rather than condescending women for caring about issues that affect them, it would be far more productive for others to engage with them over those issues in order to create a substantive, nuanced dialogue the American public deserves during any given election cycle.

In her speech at the Women’s Leadership Forum, Clinton said, “But as I said from the start, I wanted to rise above partisanship and reach for statesmanship, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”  In moving forward, let us all take that quote to heart and work together in rising above the trivial and digging into the issues that affect us as Americans.

--Talia Lepson, MWPC Intern

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Get to Know Representative Kay Khan!

With just under a week to go before the big night- get to know one of our Abigail Adams Honoree's, Representative Kay Khan!


Monday, October 19, 2015

5 Things to Know About Abigail Adams Honoree Josafina Bonilla


The MWPC's Annual Tribute to Abigail Adams recognizes outstanding women leaders in Massachusetts, the Awards will be held Tuesday October 27th at 6pm, Josaphina Bonilla will be honored on that night.