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Fact Sheets

D.C. Employees and Students Deserve Protection Against Discrimination, Not Congressional Interference

April 15, 2015

Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced resolutions that would disapprove two District of Columbia laws recently passed by the D.C. Council. The disapproval resolutions – H.J. Res. 43 and 44 – would block laws aimed at protecting women and their families and LGBT students in the District of Columbia from harsh discrimination at work and school.

States Take Action to Stop Bosses’ Religious Beliefs from Trumping Women’s Reproductive Health Care Decisions

April 15, 2015

Across the country, employers are using their religious beliefs to discriminate against their employees because they disagree with their employees’ personal reproductive health care decisions. Women are being punished, threatened, or fired for using birth control, for undergoing in vitro fertilization in order to get pregnant, or for having sex without being married. It is unfair that a person would be fired or discriminated against because of a decision about whether to prevent pregnancy or start a family.

Employers should not be allowed to use their personal religious beliefs to discriminate against employees, who typically come from all different faiths. Fortunately, states have begun to step forward to protect employees, introducing legislation to make it clear that bosses cannot obstruct or coerce an employee when that employee makes a personal reproductive health care decision.

Long Overdue: Equal Pay for Maryland's Women & Families

April 14, 2015

Pay discrimination remains a persistent problem in the workforce. In Maryland, on average, women working full-time, year-round typically earn about 85.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. Asian American women in Maryland earn only 84.2 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, and the situation is even worse for African American women (69.7 cents) and Latinas (46.6 cents). SB 424 and HB 1051, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, along with SB 425, the Wage Disclosure and Discussion Protection Act, would strengthen Maryland’s equal pay law and provide workers with the tools they need to combat pay discrimination and close the wage gap.

How the Wage Gap Hurts Women and Families

April 10, 2015

Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,876 less per year in median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, addressing the significant pay disparities that remain is critical for women and their families.

Closing the Wage Gap is Crucial for Women of Color and Their Families

April 09, 2015
Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap is even larger for many women of color working full time, year round, as African American women are paid only 64 cents, and Latinas only 56 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. These gaps translated into a loss of $19,399 for African American women and $23,279 for Latinas in 2013. Closing the wage gap is, therefore, particularly important for African American women and Latinas, who are already more likely to have lower incomes and to be in poverty than virtually all other groups. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, addressing the significant disparity that remains is critical for women and their families.

Women and the Minimum Wage, State by State Chart

April 09, 2015

The minimum wage is falling short for millions of Americans — especially for women, who represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers across the country, and at least half of minimum wage workers in every state. Use this chart to see how the states compare.

Recently Introduced and Enacted State and Local Fair Scheduling Legislation

April 08, 2015

Employees increasingly face just-in-time scheduling practices, including being given very little notice of their work schedules, being sent home early when work is slow without being paid for their scheduled shifts, and being assigned to call-in shifts or on-call shifts that require them to call their employer or wait to be called by their employer, often within two hours of their potential shift, to find out whether they will be required to report to work. In addition, many employees have very little ability to make adjustments to their work schedules without penalty. More than a third of parents say they have been “passed over” for a promotion, a raise, or a new job due to a need for a flexible work schedule. Among low-wage workers, about half report having little flexibility in the hours that they work.

There is a growing movement to improve workplace scheduling practices so that workers and their families can better plan their lives. In the past year, lawmakers have introduced legislation at the federal, state and local level to respond to these difficult scheduling practices. In 2014, San Francisco passed a Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Ordinance provides scheduling protections for employees in certain types of jobs. Also in 2014, Michigan introduced a bill modeled after the federal scheduling legislation that was introduced earlier that same year, the Schedules That Work Act. And in 2015, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon introduced bills to curb difficult scheduling practices. This fact sheet provides an overview of this recently enacted and proposed state and local legislation.

Equal Pay for Asian American Women

April 07, 2015

Women overall working full time, year round in the United States are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. And the wage gap is just a penny smaller for Asian American women who work full time, year round—they are paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This gap, which amounts to a loss of $11,153 a year, means that Asian American women have to work more than 15 months—past the beginning of April—to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did in one year alone.

Oregon's Working Families Need Fair Work Schedules

April 07, 2015

Low wages make it hard for workers to support themselves and their families, but wages are not the only problem. Low-wage jobs are often marked by work scheduling policies and practices that pose particular challenges for workers with significant responsibilities outside of their job, including caregiving, pursuing education and workforce training, or holding down a second job. Some require working nights, weekends, or even overnight, and many offer only part-time work, despite many workers’ need for full-time hours.

Women are disproportionately affected by this problem, because women both hold the majority of low-wage jobs and shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities. Nearly 48 percent of women in Oregon over the age of 16 are in the labor force. And especially for the nearly 176,100 women in Oregon working in low-wage jobs (earning $10.10 or less), difficult scheduling practices all too often undermine their best efforts to provide for their families.

This fact sheet outlines five of the most common scheduling challenges faced by workers in low-wage jobs and explains their prevalence and detrimental impact on workers and their families.

School Reform and Dropout Prevention: Addressing Disparities in Discipline for African American Girls

April 07, 2015

African American Girls Experience Harsher, More Frequent School Discipline. Black girls are suspended and expelled from school at higher rates than other girls. In the 2011-12 school year, 12% of all African American girls in grades pre-K–12 were suspended from school—six times the rate of white girls and higher than the rate for any other group of girls, and white, Latino, and Asian American boys.

Schools suspend African American girls more often than they suspend white girls for minor offenses like dress code violations, or subjective offenses like “defiance” or “disobedience.” For example, an Ohio study showed that for behavior labeled as “disobedient or disruptive,” 16.3% of African American girls received out-of-school suspensions and 10% received in-school suspensions. In comparison, the rates for white girls were just 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively, even though Black girls are only a small fraction of Ohio’s student population. For the same offenses, Black girls more often received out-of-school suspension and white girls got in-school suspension. African American girls also are more likely than white girls to be suspended from school for fighting.

Because of such severe and frequent discipline, African American girls spend more time out of the classroom, which contributes to poor academic performance, increased dropout rates, and higher representation in the juvenile justice system. In 2009-10 African American girls represented less than 17% of all female students, but 31% of girls referred to law enforcement by schools and 43% of girls who experienced a school-related arrest. And despite an overall drop in juvenile delinquency cases from 1996 to 2011, girls’ share of delinquency cases increased; among females, the share of cases that involved Black girls went up while white girls’ share declined.

Gender and race stereotypes underlie disparate discipline rates of African American girls, while the impact of trauma is overlooked. Stereotypes of Black women as “hyper-sexualized” and aggressive may contribute to the implicit bias underlying many educators’ views of African American girls, who are more likely than white girls to be penalized for behaviors that challenge our society’s expectations of what is appropriate “feminine” behavior. For example, Black girls who complain about sexual harassment may be labeled as aggressors. Black girls who are assertive and speak up in class may be labeled as “loud” or showing “attitude.” Behavior that is labeled as “defiant” may in fact be a predictable response to unaddressed trauma or mental health issues. Punishing girls for such behavior instead of providing them with services and support fails to change the behavior or improve their engagement in school.

How Policymakers Can Stop the Unfair Discipline of African American Girls

  • Require accurate annual public reporting of school discipline data that can be analyzed by race, sex, disability, type of offense, and length of sanction.
  • Implement positive behavior interventions and culturally-responsive supports, social and emotional learning, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and restorative justice practices as alternatives to punitive discipline practices and police in schools, which are shown to negatively impact African American girls through increased arrests, involvement with the juvenile justice system, and lost learning time.
  • Train school personnel to recognize the signs of trauma that may underlie behaviors perceived as “defiant” or “disrespectful” and to support students impacted by violence or trauma without re-victimizing them.