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Senate Movement on Paycheck Fairness is a Step in the Right Direction

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: September 16, 2014 at 11:57 am

Bad news, everybody. Yesterday, a measure to hold an up-or-down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) fell just a few votes short in the Senate.

But there is a silver lining. Yesterday’s vote comes less than a week after the Senate, for the first time ever, voted—73 to 25—to debate the PFA. But by blocking an up-or-down vote on the measure, some members of the Senate sent the signal loud and clear that they are still not ready to get serious about equal pay.

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Hobby Lobby Made Me Want to Knit a Brick

Posted by Abigail Burman, Intern | Posted on: September 16, 2014 at 08:38 am

In the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision in June, the Court allowed certain for-profit corporations to get out of complying with the health care law’s birth control benefit, which requires insurance plans to cover birth control without any additional costs.  There were a lot of reactions to the decision’s stunning disregard for women’s health – including our own here at the National Women’s Law Center where we have continued to push for more attention and anger over the issue. Some people were shocked, some people were angry (the consequences of the decision have shown just how much there is to be angry about), and some people wanted to knit.

To protest the decision, the Secular Coalition for America (SCA) asked their supporters to knit bricks to rebuild the wall between church and state. If SCA received  400 bricks their staff would bring them  to the court, if SCA got 800 they would bring them to Congress, and if they got 1,200 they would take them to the White House. 

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The Story Behind the Numbers: The Wage Gap

Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the U.S. in 2013. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers tell us — and don’t tell us — about the wage gap.

The typical American woman who works full time, year round was still paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart in 2012. For women of color, the gaps are even larger. This blog post provides details about the wage gap measure that the Census Bureau and the National Women’s Law Center use, factors contributing to the wage gap, and how to shrink the gap.

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The Story Behind the Numbers: Health Insurance

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: September 15, 2014 at 08:07 am

Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the United States in 2013. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers will tell us about health insurance.

Where does this data come from?

Once a year, the Census Bureau includes additional questions on health coverage and income within their monthly Current Population Survey. This supplement is known as the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). The ASEC questions regarding health insurance explore whether each member of the respondent household had insurance coverage throughout the previous calendar year, and if so, what kind of coverage. According to the Census Bureau, the ASEC is the most widely used source of data on health insurance coverage in the U.S.

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The Story Behind the Numbers: Poverty

Posted by | Posted on: September 15, 2014 at 08:01 am

This week, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the U.S. in 2013. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers tell us— and don’t tell us—about poverty. Here are a few FAQs on poverty and the Census Bureau data.

What does the poverty rate measure?

The poverty rate measures the percentage of the U.S. population with income below the federal poverty threshold, often referred to as the “poverty line,” for their family size (e.g., $23,624 in 2013 for a family of four with two kids). Income is calculated before taxes and includes only cash income such as earnings, pension/retirement income, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and child support payments.

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Missouri State Representative Thinks a Court Case is the Best Way to Keep his Daughters from Using Birth Control

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: September 11, 2014 at 09:44 am

Earlier this week we got some more insight into the twisted reasoning that some people use to justify attempts to limit women’s access to essential health care. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Monday in the case Wieland v. Sebelius. The plaintiff, Paul Wieland, would have us believe that this is just like the other cases that have been filed against the rule that insurance plans cover the full range of birth control methods. Except there’s a big difference: Wieland is not the owner of a corporation nor is he representing a religiously affiliated organization. This means that the birth control coverage requirement doesn’t even apply to him. He does not have to do anything differently than he did before the ACA expanded access to contraceptives for millions of women (and that is why the district court dismissed his case). But that’s not stopping Wieland.

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Paycheck Fairness, Part II — Raise the Minimum Wage!

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel | Posted on: September 11, 2014 at 08:55 am

Yesterday, a majority of the Senate voted to proceed to debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and make it easier for women to ensure that their employers are paying them fairly. A vote on the merits of this bill is long overdue, and Senate passage would be a critically important step forward.

But the Paycheck Fairness Act is not the only bill that could help close the gap between women’s and men’s earnings — which hasn’t budged in a decade, as women working full time, year round are still typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. One reason for this persistent wage gap is that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs: for starters, they make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers. Another bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, would boost pay for these workers by gradually raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increasing the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing these wages to keep up with inflation. 

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One Step Closer to Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act

Posted by Gail Zuagar, Outreach Associate | Posted on: September 10, 2014 at 03:47 pm

Today the Senate, by a vote of 73-25, agreed to move on to a full debate of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). But we’re not at the finish line just yet—in fact, we’re far from it. There will be another procedural vote before the Senate finally gets to the point and hopefully passes PFA.

Passing PFA would make a big difference for working women. Here’s how:

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