Equal Opportunity in Americaby Representative Janice Hahn
Posted on 2014-01-14
HAHN. Thank you. I appreciate you taking this first hour tonight
to focus on women and jobs. It is certainly an issue that we women are
very aware of and have worked on a lot in our jobs, in our districts,
in our homes, but it is nice when our men are enlightened.
Mr. GARAMENDI. If I might interrupt for a moment.
I am highly motivated. My wife of almost 48 years now and my five daughters keep my constantly abreast of this issue.
Ms. HAHN. Good for them.
I think, as Jan Schakowsky talked about, Nancy Pelosi and Rosa DeLauro, we have had this incredible campaign called When Women Succeed, America Succeeds. The point is it is good to help women in this country because this will really help America to succeed. And we no longer have the kind of families that many of us watched on television in the fifties. In fact, the American family has permanently changed, and women head up more families on their own. More than half of the babies born to women ages 30 and younger are born to unmarried women--by the way, most of them White.
We have got women who are heading their families. We have got women who are trying to take care of their families. They are now the sole breadwinners in their family. They are not necessarily the second income or the income that helps out with the man having the major income.
The statistic, I think, out of the Shriver Report that was really eye-opening for me, when we talk about the minimum wage, is that two- thirds of the workers who earned a minimum wage in this country are women. And if we could raise this minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, how many more women that would lift out of poverty. And not just the women, their families. We have too many families, children, who are living on the brink, and this is so important.
To talk about women wanting sick days, it is unbelievable to me how many women who work in these minimum wage jobs don't get sick days. Do you know how many women have the painful choice of either putting their sick child on the bus to go to school or staying home and losing a day's wages to take care of their sick child because we don't have the kind of child care in this country that can accommodate children who are not well enough to go to school? We have women choosing between missing a day's work--possibly if they have too many of those, they are going to lose their job--or putting a sick child on the bus to go to school.
We need to raise the minimum wage. We need to have affordable child care. We need to make sure that women have sick days that they can use either for themselves--mostly it is never for yourself when you are a mother. You forgo being sick as a mother and you spend those days for your children.
How many women are taking care of their parents? Even though many women have brothers in the family, it usually falls to the woman to take care of her parents when they become ill or need help being taken care of. We have got to really focus on women making sure they have good jobs.
By the way, our women veterans--our women veterans in this country-- have the highest unemployment rate. That is terrible to think that our women who have put their lives on the line for this country come home and [[Page H211]] cannot find good jobs to take care of themselves or their families.
I am glad we are doing this tonight. I think it is an important message. I think the Shriver Report that was just released really sheds light on how many women in this country are near or on the brink of living in poverty.