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As Election Nears, Equal Pay Top Priority for Women

Women in Florida and nationwide want lawmakers to know how they feel about issues like equal pay and paid leave. (cohdra/morguefile)
Women in Florida and nationwide want lawmakers to know how they feel about issues like equal pay and paid leave. (cohdra/morguefile)
May 3, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. - With national reports giving Florida a failing grade in terms of economic security for women, a forum was held last night in Orlando with the goal of getting women to raise their collective voices for change.

Liz Shuler is the national secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and she came to Florida to host the forum.

She says because women represent 40 percent of breadwinners nationwide, it's time for political leaders and candidates to take their issues seriously.

"When they're bringing home less money, or if they're having to make a choice between going to work sick or caring for their family, then that affects the economic reality of not just the woman who's working, but the entire family," says Shuler.

The AFL-CIO conducted a survey of 25,000 working women nationwide to determine which issues matter most to them, and found that equal pay and coping with multiple demands on their time rose to the top. The survey results are posted online at AFLCIO.org.

With the presidential election looming, Shuler says it's also time for women to ask themselves which candidate do they believe is really going to address these issues?

"Who's talking about raising the minimum wage? Who's talking about making sure women are paid fairly and equally to their male counterparts?," she says. "Who's talking about paid leave, and making sure that people aren't going to work sick and having to grapple with how to take care of their family?"

Shuler adds not only are women increasingly their family breadwinners, they're also becoming more likely to be the financial decision-makers.

Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed said they hold primary responsibility for day-to-day decisions in their household about money, or share that responsibility equally with a spouse or partner.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL