With the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, women in the United States gained the right to vote in national elections; however, the gender gap remains wide even in the 21st Century. According to the Department of Labor, women account for 51.7 percent1 of the labor force, but still earn just 82 cents for every dollar that men earn2. The Center for American Progress again finds that while women hold 52 percent of all professional-level jobs, they are just 25 percent of executive officers and 4.6 percent of CEOs3.
To make sure our efforts do not go unnoticed by the Nevada Legislature, Nevada Women's Lobby (NWL) observes Equal Pay Day in April during each legislative session to remind legislators the length of time during the new calendar year that the average American woman would have to work to earn the same amount as the average American man worked during the previous year. According to the latest research from PEW, women would have to work 44 days more per year to earn what men did during the previous year.4
Even though Nevada is considered one of the better states for income inequality, women here still only make about 76 percent of what their male counterparts make so we have a long way to go. For more than two decades, NWL has worked to educate elected officials and the community on the importance of women’s equality. Fortunately, Nevada has benefited from legislative champions on this issue. In the 2017 legislature, Senator Pat Spearman led the charge on finally ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, and Nevada became the first state in three decades to ratify. Just two more states are needed to amend the Constitution. There were also a number of other legislative victories, including time off work for domestic violence victims and a prohibition for anyone convicted of domestic violence battery from owning or possessing a firearm. Read about all our 2017 legislative victories here.
The Fight Continues
While 2017 was a good year for women and families in Nevada, there is much more to be done. NWL will again be working with key legislators to continue our efforts for full equality for women.
We know that there is strength in numbers. Consequently, we have joined forces with AAUW NV, AAUW Reno, AAUW Capitol, PLAN, Planned Parenthood, WOW and the Nevada League of Women to form the Coalition for Women’s Equity to continue to advocate and build public support for passage of pay equity legislation in the 2017 session.Sources:
1. Department of Labor, 2015: https://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/latest_annual_data.htm
2 & 4. Pew Research: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/
3. The Women's Leadership Gap, Center for American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2015/08/04/118743/the-womens-leadership-gap/