CHICAGO–Working women deserve three things, fair pay, affordable childcare and paid sick days, said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and 2nd Congressional District Representative Robin Kelly (D) June 4 in the Illinois medical district.
The women participated in the “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: Women on a Roll” bus tour, which traveled across the country. They came to Chicago from Seneca Falls, New York. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-10), Judge Ann Callis, a Democratic candidate in IL-13 were also a part of the group. They gathered at Teamster City, 1645 W. Jackson Street.
“Forty-two years ago Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee equal rights for American women and although we’ve made progress leveling the playing field, we certainly have not done enough and we have a long way to go,” said Kelly.
“This is the United States of America, the most industrialized and one of the most progressive nations in the world. It amazes me that we lag behind so many other countries in terms of equal rights, pay and privileges for American women and we’re going to change that with your help,” she continued.
The Women Succeed agenda includes the Family Act, which would give women up to 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of a new child, a serious family illness or medical condition. It also includes the Health Families Act, which would give employees at least seven paid sick days. The group would like to expand the childcare tax credit and promote access and funds to affordable, quality childcare.
Kelly shared with the crowd of about 125 that she experienced the struggle first-hand as a divorced single mother raising two children.
“I was faced with these same challenges of barely making it from paycheck to paycheck,” she said.
“Many working moms without paid sick days are often forced to make the difficult choice to either send their ill child to daycare or school or sacrifice a day’s pay,” she said, adding that some don’t even have that option because childcare is “too expensive.”
Pelosi took the stage amidst loud cheering and chanting: “When women succeed, America succeeds,” supporters said.
“We have some unfinished business to do, [but] we’re going to get it done now,” she said, encouraging people to vote.
“We need to involve women in the economic development of this country,” she said. There is a great need for more women owned businesses, especially minority women, she said.
U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis, 7th Congressional District of Illinois, also attended the event.
“When women succeed, America succeeds,” he said. “We need to make certain that every family has an opportunity for childcare and we need equal pay for equal work done,” he said.