Women Give San Diego recently hosted Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Council President Todd Gloria to learn more about legislation they are both working on to help working women and families. This was WGSD’s kick-off meeting for the new granting cycle, on Monday September 15, 2014. While our members are well aware that pay equity continues to be a problem for women, this meeting provided a unique inside look on advocacy efforts to remove barriers for women and provide supportive services for working mothers.
As a single mother and daughter of an immigrant farm worker, Gonzalez was inspired to act to ensure that all workers, from dishwashers to store clerks, could have the ability to take sick days. Gonzalez’s advocacy efforts over the past year culminated in Governor Jerry Brown’s recent signing of AB1522, ensuring that all workers can take three paid sick days without the fear losing income to provide for their families. California now leads the nation by becoming the first state to guarantee paid sick days for every single private-sector worker.
While Gonzalez’s legislative leadership has proved nothing short of historic, her upcoming work will focus on rebuilding greater support for low-income families by providing diaper assistance. Since current government programs neglect to provide support for the $80 to $120 monthly costs for diapers, Gonzalez is looking for active partners in the community and legislature to provide this essential support for vulnerable families.
Our members were also inspired by the efforts of Gloria to increase the minimum wage in the City of San Diego. As a third-generation and proud San Diego native, Gloria found it unacceptable that 38% of working residents are currently unable to make ends meet. He was further inspired to take action by accepting the ‘Live the Wage’ challenge and attempted to live on $51 a week.
Earlier this year, Gloria successfully spearheaded efforts to gradually raise the minimum wage in the City of San Diego to $11.50 an hour by 2017. However, recent signature gatherers in the community, who are trying to overturn the new policy, have been misrepresenting themselves as supporters of the minimum wage increase. Gloria shared that many of the signatures have now been invalidated, as community members have reported they provided their signature under false pretenses. Nonetheless, they may force a vote on the new policy through a public referendum in June 2016. Gloria also stressed the need for continued community support of working families and an increased minimum wage.
Women Give was thrilled to host these two communities leaders! We continue to be inspired by the work of these political leaders and looks forward to strengthening collaborations to empower and support women throughout San Diego County. To learn more about our Advocacy Team and our efforts to support San Diego women, contact Abbey Stephenson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sarah Dawe (email@example.com).