Today, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, a day that commemorates the 19th Amendment being ratified granting millions of women the right to vote. In the 95 years since, women have used their votes to better their lives, strengthen their families and protect their communities. But women have yet to maximize their power at the polls—about one-third of all U.S. women and nearly 40% of unmarried women are not registered to vote—or in the workplace. The labor movement provides almost 7 million women with a voice on the job through union membership and is a driving force in the fight for economic equality and security for women.
As International Women’s Day approaches, the global labor movement is mobilizing to put teeth into the celebration’s 2014 theme, “Equality for women is progress for all.” The AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center allies around the world also are getting set to highlight the struggles of working women with actions that include rallies by banana workers who are members of the union SITRABI in Guatemala and a conference honoring women workers from Jordan and Palestine. (Follow Women’s Day actions on Twitter with the hashtag #IWD2014.)
The renewal of the Violence Against Women Act is now on its way to President Obama, who has said he will sign it into law. On the eve of Women's History Month, working families were able to celebrate that the House finally passed the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday. The Senate already passed the act.
At a Turkish-owned textile plant in the Democratic Republic of Georgia a few years ago, female employers were repeatedly forced to remain on the job without pay for hours a day. When they ultimately demanded to be released, the factory manager responded by yelling and throwing a heavy load of unfinished dresses at one woman. The blow knocked her unconscious. The factory manager returned to Turkey to avoid prosecution—but likely would not have faced charges even if he had stayed, says Bob Fielding, Solidarity Center country program director in Georgia, who described the incident.
Working America and the AFL-CIO have made it easy to host a party, by providing a step-by-step guide that tells you what to expect and how to make your party successful. Working America has been hosting parties like this for the past five years, and they make a difference. Women who hear about how important it is to vote from other women actually vote at higher rates.
Women still make only 77 cents to the dollar men earn in America. Worldwide, "women are paid 18 percent on average less than their male counterparts at work." This pay gap has persisted without change for a decade.
Donna Gatehouse, who blogs at DemocraticDiva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.
Republicans in the Arizona legislature must be uneasy these days. A package of Wisconsin-style anti-public sector union bills is making its way through the process, as is Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to remove civil service protections from state workers. Several labor and community organizations plan protests around those bills. At the same time, women's and reproductive rights groups will undoubtedly be at the state capitol to speak out against numerous shocking and intrusive anti-abortion and anti-contraception measures before the legislature this session. The GOP majority is apparently so frightened by this prospect it’s trying to make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to engage in "passive resistance." Common nonviolent protest tactics such as going limp when the police try to remove you from an area or chaining yourself to something could get you up to a six-month month jail sentence.
Women must have the right to quality health care, including equal access to contraception, and have the ability to exercise that right regardless of where they work, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said today in a statement at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The council reaffirmed a 2001 Convention resolution promoting contraceptive equity in national health plans and in collective bargaining agreements, saying Wednesday that all women "should have universal access to quality health care at a reasonable cost that is not determined by political agendas."