Dear Friends and Neighbors, Today is National Equal Pay Day. This is a day to reflect and recommit to closing the wage gap, symbolizing that women must work an additional three months to make the same amount that men earned the previous year. On average, women make eighty cents to every dollar men make for the same work. This gap is even larger for women of color. In Vermont, women make $8,000 less than the median annual salary of men in the state - their earnings are lower than men’s in every county, across every level of education, and every age. The gender wage gap has always been an important issue to address, but the COVID-19 pandemic means women are even more likely to suffer greater hardship and economic loss than men. This is all while women are on the frontlines of the relief effort. Women make up 87 percent of the nurses in the US, as well as a critical mass of health care workers, social workers, and personal care attendants. In Vermont, 81 percent of tipped workers are women - the highest rate in the nation. In a world where women have to work harder to achieve equal opportunities to men and are paid less for equal work, we must protect women on the frontlines as they work to protect us. We all can make a difference. Take a moment to reflect on the role women are playing as community connectors and frontline workers in this current crisis. Thank the women in your life and recommit to closing the wage gap for them. As your State Senator, I will work toward achieving equal pay for equal work for deserving women everywhere. As always, and particularly in this time of physical distancing, your stories mean a great deal to me. Please reach out to me, and stay safe and healthy during these challenging times. All my best, Kesha
P.S. This #VTEqualPayDay I thank women like Governor Madeleine Kunin, who has worked hard to draw attention to the wage gap and the need for women’s equality in the workplace. Her book The New Feminist Agenda is available at local book stores like Phoenix Books (with free shipping) and it makes for a meaningful read while we stay home and safe.