Women will join together at the Bicentennial Mall (near the state legislature) at 5pm today to demand better public policies that would improve the lives of women and families. The rally is part of the North Carolina NAACP’s Moral Monday Movement Summer of Moral Resistance, with support from women’s coalitions such as NC Women United.
Speakers will lift up the fallout from Governor McCrory’s and the state legislature’s policies that have been to the detriment—not the benefit—of Tar Heel women. These policy decisions include the underfunding of education from early education and care to college, shifting taxes away from the wealthy and onto everyone else, failing to expand Medicaid, refusing to give workers the dignity of a minimum wage increase, and enacting the nation’s worst voter suppression law.
Just on the economy issue alone it is easy to see why women will show up tonight and use their voices for change. Women have made tremendous economic strides over the last few decades. Yet, women are still more likely than men to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to pay the bills.
The fact that women face more economic hardships than men is well-documented in the data. Here are some quick facts from my latest poverty report, North Carolina’s Greatest Challenge, that put Tar Heel women’s economic struggle into perspective:
- The poverty rate for women in the state was 19.3 percent in 2013 compared to 16.4 percent for men. That year, Tar Heel women earned just 82.9 cents for every dollar men earned.
- Nearly 156,500 women in the state would have to be lifted out of poverty for women to have the same poverty rate as men.
- Women of color face particularly high rates of poverty. In 2013, Latina, American Indian, and African American women were more than twice as likely to live in poverty as Asian and white women.
- Three in four children who were poor lived in families with at least one worker.
- Gender inequality extends into retirement age too: older female adults are far more likely to struggle to make ends meet than men.
Put simply, from Murphy to Manteo the economy is just downright broken for many women and their families. North Carolina needs policies that create equal opportunity and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared so that all North Carolinians can reach their potential. Yet, the policies that lawmakers are prioritizing are not aligned with the research and fail to meet this standard. Women and allies will join forces tonight to demand better choices to help ensure a better future for us all.
Your silence will not protect you—as Audre Lorde declared. Details are here if you want to join them.