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Congresswoman Hosts Roundtable On Women’s Work Issues

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 497

Roundtable17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is gathering ideas to address what a new report says is wage disparity in Illinois.

Bustos held a roundtable discussion with area women at Knox College yesterday to discuss the findings which further elaborate on the earnings gap between men and women.

Benefits for female professionals such as absences from work, child care, and healthcare were also discussed. The East Moline Democrat held similar women’s roundtable discussions last week – which included stops in Peoria, the Quad Cities, and Rockford.

The report, issued this month by the American Association of University Women highlights that in Illinois, women earn around 79-percent of what their male counterparts make. Bustos says we’ve got a long way to go.

“We need to talk about: what are some of the answers?” says Bustos. “Are there legislative answers? Are there legislative impediments to women’s success and, again, what to we need to be aware of as we go forward?”

Nationally, women earn $.77 for every $1 a man makes in identical positions. Documents were available highlighting areas which could alter the situation, such as passing equal pay for equal work legislation in Congress. Those in attendance, some of whom represented local government or institutions, cited taking time off work to care for sick children was often a cause of negative attention in the workplace.

Bustos says the 17th Congressional district is adversely impacted.

“In our congressional district, we make 69.8 cents for every dollar a make makes for the same work, so we are one of the worst congressional districts in the country for equal pay,” says Bustos.

Wage gaps increase further when accounting for minority women populations, according to the discussion. The Congresswoman echoed an item from the report – which says that in addition to being about women, pay inequity is really about the needs of families.