Dear Senate Labor Committee,
The Womxn Project, a statewide organization focused on leveraging the power of art, activism, advocacy and education to advance the principles of reproductive justice, which demands that we all have the right to determine when and how we build our relationships, families and futures and that we have the ability to live and raise our children with dignity.
We are proud to submit testimony in support of S. 270, which takes steps to ensure fair pay for women and other workers who have traditionally been underpaid in the workforce due to long standing inequities and systemic oppression. The obstacles placed intentionally or unintentionally as a reflection of a sexist, racist set of systems that undermines the success of people pushes to the margins to uphold the status quo – are largely in favor of power and opportunity for older, white men and for those who are born with wealth. We must do more to address the lack of equal opportunity and pay throughout the workforce and harmful consequences of this inequity.
Closing the wage gap has a particularly dramatic impact on women of color who earn less in comparison to white women and white men in the work place. Latinas earn 52 cents on the dollar. This represents the largest wage gap of any other group of working women. At this rate, to earn what white men earn by age 60, Latina women would have to work until they’re 90.
Fair and equal pay is a workplace issues, but it is also a family issue. A growing number of women are the primary wage earners for our families. When women are not paid fairly, not only do we suffer, but so do their families. A loss in income due to the wage gap means less money to support a family – less for housing, food, health care and education. This inequity impacts our communities long-term and keeps our families from attaining their full potential. Less income means fewer people cannot put aside money for times of crisis or to build up savings for a college education for their children or for their own retirement.
This issue isn’t going to go away without doing the hard work to create a road map and the commitment to follow through. That is what this bill is looking to do – to take steps to work to achieve fair pay and to help support an employee who is being paid less than a colleague. You can help take action by ensuring fair pay regardless of a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. We should all have the opportunity to gain a job and be supported, promoted and paid based on our skills and experience. This bill is a critical first step to providing Rhode Islanders the opportunity to recognize and fulfill our potential and lives our lives with dignity. We urge you to vote yes on this legislation. Thank you.
Jocelyn Foye (401-400-0061, [email protected])