Women’s Economic Security Front and Center This Election Season

 

By Ronda Wallace

Ronda Wallace - owner of Butterfly Tax Pro
Ronda Wallace – owner of Butterfly Tax Pro

With 66 percent of households nationwide relying on income from women it’s safe to assume women are paid equally for equal work, right? Wrong. Women are still paid just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Even as an accountant that can be difficult to put into perspective, so let’s look at that figure annually. Here in Florida the average woman makes $7,128 less than her male counterpart. What could your family do with an extra $7,128 a year?

USA Today reports that the average cost to operate a vehicle, including car payments, insurance, gas and maintenance is about $9000. Equal pay for women would have you well on your way.

Do you have children, or are you thinking of growing your family? A popular blog for mothers called The Bump reports the average child care cost per year in Florida is just over $8,000. Whether it is a vehicle, child care, student loan payments, or just some extra money to furnish your home, women deserve equal pay, and our families will live better when we achieve it.

Equal pay and other issues can only be solved through our elected officials. President Obama took a step in the right direction when he signed the Lily Ledbetter Act, but more legislation is necessary to close the gender gap.

But with gridlock in Congress, boosting women’s economy security can start locally. As a member of the Main Street Alliance, an organization that promotes small business values, I got involved with the Vote Local campaign that encourages people to vote in the local Orange County elections on August 26.

The local elections do not get the same kind of publicity as the larger races, but they decide the men and women who impact our everyday lives. The County Mayor, Commissioners, School Board officials, and legislation like Earned Sick Time are all decided in the local election.

Remember the Earned Sick Time petition was certified with 50,000 voter signatures to get it on the ballot in 2012? Our local leaders colluded with state legislators, especially Steve Precourt, to deliver the “killshot” through a preemptive legislative measure at the state level. But, a vote on Earned Sick Days is on the ballot this election, and we have to send them a message that no one should be forced to work sick, or fear losing their job when they stay home with a sick child. Working women – and men for that matter – shouldn’t have to choose between being a good employee or being a good parent.

Level the playing field for women and small business owners and use your power to change local government, Vote Local on August 26.

Ronda Wallace is owner of Butterfly Tax Pro and member of Main Street Alliance Florida.

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