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Progressive House Democrats describe minimum wage hike as feminist issue in Teen Vogue column
Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) framed their proposed minimum wage increase as a feminist issue in an editorial for Teen Vogue published Thursday, highlighting the proposal's potential benefits to women.
The two note that women are more likely than men to work the lowest-wage jobs and have the most to gain from a federal minimum wage increase, citing Economic Policy Institute research that found 58 percent of the workers who would benefit from such a hike are women.
Going deeper into the data, they add, nearly one-third of all female wage-earners and more than 40 percent of single mothers would receive a raise under the bill, which would gradually double the $7.25 minimum wage to $15 by 2024. A House vote on the measure is expected Thursday.
"The overwhelming share of individuals doing the life-supporting, honorable, and extremely challenging work of caring for our children, people with disabilities, and seniors are women," Pressley and Jayapal write.
"These types of female-dominated, low-paid jobs are in the fields with the largest projected growth over the next decade. Meanwhile, Wall Street employees who are predominantly male made an average of $422,500 (over $200 per hour) in 2017," they add.
The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2009. Pressley and Jayapal's Federal Raise the Wage Act would also increase the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, which has been at $2.13 per hour for even longer.
The bill would gradually eliminate the distinctions between the two classes of wage, gradually increasing both until they are equal. Eight states have already eliminated the two tiers of wages, and women are less likely to live in poverty in these states than others, according to the column.
The two lawmakers note that their respective home states and cities have been proving grounds for minimum wage increases, with Seattle voting in 2014 for the same phased-in increase to $15 and the Massachusetts state legislature voting to increase both the minimum and sub-minimum wages beginning in 2018.
"All women - whether they are sports champions in the limelight or the caregivers, servers, and others at the low end of the income ladder - deserve fair pay," Pressley and Jayapal write. "This week, we hope our colleagues in Congress will help give them that opportunity."