This was in my Twitter feed today to remind me it’s Equal Pay Day: This is funny, + sadly, true. On average, ♀ r working 22% of the time 4 free. We need 2 fix this. https://t.co/c76v6hqeXC @GloriaFeldt — Sheryl L. Axelrod (@sher_lawyer) April 14, 2015 I don’t know about you, but I’m sooo tired…

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Census Bureau statistics cite that women on average earn about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. On Tuesday, the Senate GOP blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Democrats to the senate floor.

This promising legislation would have bolstered the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, barring employers from retaliating against workers who inquire about pay disparities.

What can we as individual women do retroactively to create a work life for ourselves in which we don’t have to resort to investigating discrimination by our employers?

In this interview, Gloria encourages women to define their own terms: at meetings, “Say the first word, say the last word and establish yourself as an authority.”

Meg McSherry Breslin: For women who feel frustrated and unable to move up in their companies, what are some concrete things they can do?

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Interview by Pamela Burke of The Woman’s Eye Blog: Gloria Feldt On 9 Ways To Embrace Your Power
29 Dec

Gloria Feldt has a passion for bettering women’s lives. She’s a renowned activist, commentator, teacher, and author. In her early years as a mother of three living in west Texas, she called herself a “desperate housewife.” Yet she rose to find her voice as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood from 1996-2005.

“It’s up to us to develop a more positive relationship with power, to define power on our terms and embrace it…” Gloria Feldt

Her most recent book “No Excuses–9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power” has been received with widespread praise. It’s been called “groundbreaking” and “attitude-changing,” and “the most daring.”

I’ve known Gloria for several years now and have attended her inspiring lectures. She’s certainly embraced her own power as her book is climbing best-seller lists. I am delighted I had the opportunity to ask Gloria how she finally found her own identity and to get her advice for others we begin 2011…

EYE: You’ve wrestled with finding your own voice throughout your life. Do you think the struggle is finally over?

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Pick a number between one and fifty-one

If you picked one, you’ve picked the District of Columbia, where the median earnings gap between all men and women over age 16, employed in full-time, year –round jobs is narrowest: women earn 88 cents to a man’s dollar. If you picked fifty-one, you’re in Wyoming, where women are paid just 64 cents to each smacker earned by a man.

If college education is factored in and you survey workers over 25, Wyoming leaps to first place at 88 cents, click image to take actionand Alaska slips to that 51st place at 64 cents for women to men’s dollar. Check out the AAUW’s information base on fair pay to find out where your state fits into the pecking order.

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The best: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed into law by President Barack Obama. This photo says, better than a thousand words, the joy of this step forward for gender equality in compensation. That’s Lilly, the blonde in the middle (I won’t identify by her red jacket because it seems Senators Barbara Mikulski and Olympia Snowe and Rep.Eleanor Holmes Norton also got the memo).

Am I alone in noting the contrast between this photo, with its diverse group of people and the photo of old white men surrounding George Bush when he signed the abortion ban bill? Quite a sea change. Breathe out now. Guess which one of the signings I was invited to, and which one not.

But on to the not so best, for some happenings this past week were more like Washington as usual:

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As Congress works through the economic stimulus package, representatives need to keep in mind the connection between a woman’s need to determine her reproductive life and her ability to benefit from and contribute to economic recovery and growth. (This is an exclusive commentary I wrote for the Women’s Media Center.)

Arkansas State Senator Paul Van Dalsem got a roaring laugh in 1963 at the then all-male Optimist Club when he railed at women lobbying to improve educational opportunities for African Americans. He said his home county’s solution would be to get an uppity woman an extra milk cow. “And if that’s not enough, we get her pregnant and keep her barefoot.”

Fast forward to January 2009. The relevance of barefoot and pregnant remains central to an inclusive and just America. Economic parity and reproductive justice are still intertwined, not only in the lives of individual women; they are indivisibly connected to our economic recovery as well.

While the 111th Congress awaits President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration for action on his proposed $775-billion stimulus plan, it’s considering two important pieces of legislation not included in the recovery package. Each is treated in isolation as “women’s issues.” Yet both are integral to the success of Obama’s economic stimulus.

The Prevention First Act, sponsored by Representative Louise Slaughter and others to expand access to family planning and reproductive health care, was introduced January 13 to virtually no fanfare and little media coverage. Two gender pay equity bills—the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act—passed the House of Representatives with a bit more hoopla a few days earlier. Here’s how they work together and with the economic recovery.

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Hey, Women: Want to earn a cool half million?

That’s about what the average woman loses over a career lifetime due to gender inequities in pay for the same jobs as men.

So click here to Speak Up and demand the Senate pass two crucial pieces of legislation so that Barack Obama can sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, as he has said he would do. In a historic vote, the House of Representatives on Friday passed both bills by substantial margins, largely along party lines. A Senate vote could come as early as this week.

No, these bills aren’t another financial bailout for ailing industries that don’t deserve them. They’re not a get-rich-quick scheme from late night television infomercial-land. Nor are they part of the badly needed but very expensive stimulus package—but they should be. Here’s why:

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Little did I know a few weeks ago, when Carole Joffe and I wrote “It’s About Time Working Women Get Straight Answers from John McCain”, showing the connective tissue uniting economic and reproductive justice–you know, like the phrase “barefoot and pregnant”– and challenging McCain to clarify his positions on basic questions such as: Do you…

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