Reflect on Progress, Refocus on Work Ahead
By Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus
I’m proud of the work we’ve done in Congress, passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which reversed a misguided Supreme Court decision that limited women – or anyone else – from having their day in court after being a victim of pay discrimination. But Congress still has work to do to help women achieve equality.
For instance, this week, I was at a press conference with some of my women colleagues including Rosa DeLauro, Carolyn Maloney and Lynn Woolsey to discuss a report on the Healthy Families Act, which would expand paid sick time to more than 13.3 million women so that they would never again have to choose between getting better or missing a paycheck. Never again would they have to choose between staying home to take care of a child or losing their job. This is just one example of why it’s necessary for women to have a seat at the table.
Women’s History Month offers us a chance to reflect on the progress we’ve made and refocus on the work ahead of us. We still have a long road ahead of us to achieve full equality.
We still earn 77 cents to every one dollar men earn for the same work. We still have to fight efforts to turn back the clock on women’s health. And while our presence in government and boardrooms is growing, it’s still far from equal.
We need to work to increase the presence of women in every field. We need more women in government, in medicine, in law, and in construction. And there are things we can do to encourage young girls to study math and science.
We need women in those fields because we’ve seen what happens when they aren’t there. We’ve seen inadequate research on the effects of medication and diseases on women. It takes women, whether it be in laboratories, in boardrooms, or on the Supreme Court, to raise the concerns of women.
If women are truly to achieve equality with men, we have to act. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We can bend that arc faster, and we must act to do that.
It takes all of us to continue speaking up. It takes all of us to continue fighting. And it takes all of us to make the road a little smoother for our daughters and our granddaughters.