Demonstrators Call On Congress To “Stop Minimizing Women” As It Considers Minimum Wage Discharge Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Scores of women and their children shared stories of dwindling hope and poverty as the Congress prepares a discharge petition to force a vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act. More than 100 women and children, low-wage workers and their supporters rallied at the West Front of the Capitol demanding that elected officials raise the nation’s minimum wage from a meager $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. Families also called on District residents to support a voter initiative that calls for a minimum wage of $12.50 in the District of Columbia as the cost of living skyrockets above national averages here.
Supporters point to the fact that millions of people get up and go to work each day for pay that doesn’t allow them to provide for their families. The average yearly income from a minimum wage jobs comes out to roughly $15,000 a year, $7000 below the poverty line for a family of four.
“For me and my family an increase in the minimum wage would mean the difference between not having to choose between basic necessities,” say’s La Shawn Brown. “My husband and I have eight children; I shouldn’t have to worry about my children going hungry.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a $10.10 minimum wage would increase the take-home pay of 16.5 million workers and lift 900,000 above the poverty level. The White House says 33,000 District workers would benefit.
The women called on Congress and local officials to “Stop Minimizing Women.” An estimated 19,000 women earn minimum wage in the District of Columbia; many are heads of households and almost all are handcuffed to poverty by low wages. The National Women’s Law Center reports that two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women.