Women’s Equality Day, August 26, 2015

An historic coalition of advocacy and faith-based groups from across California will mark Women’s Equality Day this Wednesday, August 26 by gathering on the State Capitol at 11:45 a.m. to celebrate the progress made so far in this legislative session in support of women and families and to encourage the legislators and Governor to complete their work of ensuring that California is a state where women and families can thrive by working to ensure women’s economic security in California.

The August 26 rally and press on the North Capitol steps at 11:45 a.m. will be led by the Stronger California Advocates Network, which boasts dozens of advocacy groups representing millions of Californians. The Network has partnered with the Legislative Women’s Caucus to advance legislation in the state’s first ever comprehensive women’s economic security policy agenda. The Stronger California Agenda promotes policy reform across four pillars to (1) reduce poverty and help Californians build assets, (2) expand access to childcare, (3) ensure fair pay and job opportunities, and (4) support working families.

The event will feature women who encounter daily barriers to their economic security, as well as hear from legislators supporting the Agenda. Speakers will include CA Senator and Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), CA Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), CA Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA), Noreen Farrell (Chair of the Stronger California Advocates Network and Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates), Maria de Jesus (mother and member of Mujures Unidas y Activas), and Pastor Joy Johnson (Board of Directors President, Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT)).

Maria de Jesus, a community member and leader in Mujeres Unidas y Activas, says, “As a mother of two children, I want to work to make sure they both grow up healthy and happy, but I can’t find childcare for my special needs son. Instead, I’m only able to work 48 hours a month. I need a Stronger California for me and my children.”

The event will highlight and champion several bills on the Agenda, including SB 23 (Mitchell)(which would increase basic needs assistance to children in California by repealing the CalWORKS Maximum Family Grant Rule), SB 3 (Leno)(which would increase the state’s minimum wage), SB 358 (Jackson)(equal pay for equal work) and AB 1017 (Campos)(which would boost fair pay practices), AB 908 (Gomez) which would improve benefits available to California workers under the California Paid Family Leave Act), and SB 406 (Jackson)(an amendment to the California Family Rights Act which would allow more Californians to take work leave to care for family members). Press contacts for the organizations sponsoring these bills are identified on the Network List below and will be available at the press conference.

“Women comprise almost half the workforce in California, and we influence the economy as workers, consumers, and decision-makers for our families. But we’re paid less than men for the same work, and we’re more likely to live in poverty, work low-wage jobs that are hostile to working families, and have fewer opportunities for career advancement,” says Noreen Farrell, Chair of the Stronger California Advocates Network
“At this pivotal time for women and the state, it’s important that we do all we can to advance women’s economic opportunities with policies that make California and its families stronger,” says Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. “I can’t think of a better day to mark the progress we are making and must continue to make than Women’s Equality Day.”

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