When we lift women out of poverty, the whole community benefits.
Too many women struggle daily to make ends meet, at a time when 6 out of 10 are the primary or sole provider for their families. We all become stronger and more vibrant when women can earn enough money to support their families and have economic security. This strengthens the next generation by opening doors to education and good jobs.
A host of issues—including pay equity, paid family leave, payday lending reform and access to employment and leadership opportunities—impact women’s economic security. Public policies in these areas have been slow to change, but we are working to address them.
Salary History Bans to Disrupt Cycle of Pay Inequality
The cycle of race and gender wage pay discrimination can be disrupted by removing salary history from the hiring process. Although using salary history may seem like a neutral practice, is has a discriminatory impact by effectively affirming and reinforcing a prior employer’s bias. Introduced by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, LB 249 makes it unlawful for an employer to inquire about a job applicant’s salary history or require an applicant to disclose their salary list.
Women should be paid the same as men for doing the same work. On average, Nebraska women earn 73 percent of what men earn, with an even bigger wage gap for women of color and LGBTQ women. In Nebraska, equal pay for women could reduce the poverty of single mothers by nearly 68 percent.
A typical working woman loses $530,000 over her lifetime due to the wage gap, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. By the time a college-educated working woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000. In fact, the gender wage gap is widest for women with higher levels of educational attainment. For example, a woman with a graduate degree earns less than a man with a bachelor’s degree.
The first step in closing the pay gap is through pay transparency. Passed into law in 2019 and supported by the Women’s Fund, LB 217 prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who disclose and discuss their compensation. Knowledge is power.
See our fact sheet on LB 217!
Paid Family Leave
Caring for families has traditionally fallen to women, yet most companies don’t offer adequate paid family and medical leave. This continues to make women more vulnerable. In Nebraska, 71 percent of children have a working mother, and she represents 44 percent of the family’s income.
Paid family and medical leave is not a women’s issue – it’s a human issue. All families should have the opportunity to thrive. We will continue to advocate for paid family and medical leave for all Nebraskans.
Affordable Child Care
In Nebraska—where the majority of parents work outside the home—child care is the engine that drives our economy. When parents don’t have access to quality, affordable child care, they are often forced to take time off, scale back to part time or drop out of the workforce altogether. A robust and high quality child care system will benefit our families, our workforce and our economy. We will continue to advocate for policies like expanded access to child care assistance, paid leave and support for child care providers, but to fully support working parents, employers must also rise to meet demands.
Join our mailing list to get more information about child care policies and other efforts to ensure economic security.
Promoting Workplaces Free of Racial Discrimination
Senator Terrell McKinney has re-introduced legislation to support natural hair nondiscrimination. LB 451 would end natural hair discrimination in the workplace by clarifying language to expand protections for natural hair texture and protective hairstyles, including braids, locs and twists. We are amplifying the advocacy efforts of Black women, specifically the team at I Be Black Girl, to realize racial and gender equity in the workplace.
See I Be Black Girl’s Take Action page for more information about this important racial equity issue. If you have a story to tell, share today with I Be Black Girl. And read more about LB 421 in fact sheet (English or Spanish).
Payday Lending Reform
All families need access to credit. But with annual percentage rates of more than 400%, payday loans leave families worse off. That’s why we advocated for payday lending reform—to ensure that loans are reasonable and fair for consumers.
We took a step forward on payday lending during the 2018 legislative session with the passing of LB 194. Then, we worked to stop predatory payday lending through a ballot initiative, MEASURE 428, during the 2020 General Election. Measure 428 passed and will ensure payday lenders cannot charge more than 36%.