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Continuing the Fight on Equal Pay Day

Susie Turnbull is running for Lt. Governor. She served as Vice Chair of the DNC with Howard Dean, Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, and is the only woman to have chaired two national Jewish organizations.

Today is Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. It’s a wake-up call every single year.

According to a study by the National Partnership for Women & Families, Maryland women are typically paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to men. That shakes out to an average of $10,074 less than a male doing the same job.

I’ve been in the workforce since I started at a minimum wage job at age 16. Now, decades later after founding, leading, and nurturing women’s organizations and seeing the gap firsthand, I’ve done a lot of thinking about where the movement for women’s rights and equality stands.

It isn’t a pretty picture. As is often the case with our nation, we sometimes take two steps backward before moving forward. The Trump Presidency has taken us many more steps backward, but there’s been a fire ignited among women in our nation. And that fire is going to get our nation marching forward towards progress once more.

When women are paid less, families suffer. And our voices have been missing here in Maryland where, for the first time in decades, women do not hold any seats in our congressional delegation or any statewide elected offices.

Our healthcare premiums are rising. Our schools chronically underfunded and falling in national rankings. And women continue to face persistent wage discrimination. Now more than ever, we need women who have been in the trenches on these issues to have a seat at the table, to set the agenda, and to build the coalitions needed for change.

Women are the backbone of families across this nation, and more mothers in the U.S. are breadwinners than ever before. But the wage gap women experience is even starker for women of color, where Black women are paid 69 cents, Latinas are paid 47 cents, and Asian women are paid 83 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

I’ve never run for public office before, but I’ve worked for years to help pave the way for women across our state and nation to run and win. This year is different. The inspiration I felt following the Women’s March has pushed me to offer my 40 years of policy experience and as a political organizer and activist to help get Maryland back to doing big things again.

This Equal Pay Day, our fight for equality goes on, but with a vigor never before seen. The future is female, and together we are ensuring that women will write the final chapter of the Trump-era. Women will lead our state and nation to better days, and I remained hopeful and inspired to make our future brighter than ever before.