As a candidate for Congress, I think it is important to give a voice to those who need help our help. As a woman and a mother, I know the lack of equal pay for women as a critical issue in our community and for our nation’s economy.
This year in Illinois, women make 78 cents for each dollar a man makes for the same job. And women of color are being paid even less—African American women make 65 cents per male dollar and Hispanic women earn only 48 cents per male dollar.
But you all know that this wage gap doesn’t just impact women. It hurts families and our entire economy. Many households across our state rely on women’s salaries as all or part of the family income. Paying women less for the same jobs their male co-workers are doing hurts families’ ability to put food on the table, save for retirement, pay for health care or buy a house.
Equal Pay Day, which occurred on April 8th, signifies the day a woman’s wages would catch up to her male counterparts from last year. That is not an exaggeration–women have to work nearly 100 days more to earn the same wage. This is simply unacceptable and the lack of progress on this issue in Washington baffles me.
To start, Congress must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure women are paid equally to their male colleagues for the same work. It’s also time to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Here in Illinois we know that six in ten minimum wage earners are women, many of whom are head of household. And raising our minimum wage would give more than 630,000 women a raise in our state.
Families across Illinois need a strong voice to advocate for equal pay and other common-sense solutions that help strengthen families and improve our economy. That’s why I’m running for Congress.
Ann Callis, Democratic Nominee for Congress, Illinois 13th District