“No Mother Should Have to Choose Between Paying the Rent and Paying the Utilities”

By Alicia Criado, Field Coordinator, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

TruthTelling_minwage_finalhighresWelcome to our new minimum wage truth-telling video blog series. The purpose of the series is to shed light on the various truths regarding what happens and who benefits when we increase the minimum wage. To cap off the end of Women’s History Month, we’re kicking off the series with a focus on women of color, who represent a disproportionately large amount of minimum wage workers.

An estimated 15.3 million women would benefit from raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 by 2016, as proposed in the “Minimum Wage Fairness Act” (S. 1737). In the coming weeks, Congress will consider this bill, which would also adjust the rate as the cost of living increases and raise the wage for tipped workers, which has been stuck at $2.13 per hour for over 20 years. Read more below and let us know if you think it’s time to raise the minimum wage in advance of the upcoming vote in the Senate.

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Currently, the minimum wage is not enough to keep a single parent with one child out of poverty. This shouldn’t surprise many mamis in the Hispanic community; in 2013, the median earning among full-time Latina workers was $541 per week, which was 61.2% of the median earning among White men ($884 per week).

In today’s video, we feature Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation, a grassroots network of 60 nonpartisan, faith-based organizations in 17 states, South Africa, and the United Kingdom that provide leadership training, build community organizations, and lead local and national social justice campaigns. Check out Ana’s video to hear more about the tough choices many women in her organization’s congregations must make regarding their monthly expenses.

As we continue to educate our communities and elected officials about the importance of raising the minimum wage, consider why increasing the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage is especially important for women:

  • About two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women.
  • Twenty-two percent of minimum wage workers are women of color.
  • Women account for more than half (55 percent) of all workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10.
  • Women are also overrepresented in the tipped workforce, composing two-thirds of tipped restaurant workers. Raising the tipped minimum wage would significantly raise the wage standard in Latino- and female-dominant occupations.
    • About one-quarter (26 percent ) of all workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 have dependent children, and 31 percent  of female workers who would benefit have children.
    • More than 15 million women would get a raise, including more than one in five working mothers.

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