Editor's Note: MomsRising member Melea Rose-Waters shares information about an event this Sunday to mark Women's History Month.
Women’s History Month is here, and I love seeing all of the remarkable women who have made astounding contributions to women’s rights being honored. Bessie Coleman – the first African American pilot; Mary Wollenstonecraft – an 18th century women’s rights advocate; Elizabeth Blackwell – the first women to receive a medical degree in the United States.
These are just a few examples of the trailblazers who paved the way for many women after them. I want to make sure my son and the other children in our community grow up knowing about their contributions.
That’s why I am so excited to celebrate Women’s History Month with my family at the Remarkable Women, Remarkable YOU! celebration from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, March 23, at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. It's free!
Women from our community will be there to answer questions about their careers as well as read some inspiring girl-centered children’s stories. Children are encouraged to dress up as what they want to be when they grow up, and we will also have some fun dress up props available as their imaginations are sparked from hearing the empowering stories from our guests.
There will be a photo booth, cookie decorating, snacks, crafts and activities for the kids. There will also be opportunities for parents to learn about how we can keep opening doors for our daughters moving forward.
It has been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed, yet N.C. women still make only 82 cents to every man’s dollar, and for African American and Hispanic women it is even worse. In 2012, median earnings for men in our state were $41,859 compared to $34,421 for women, according to the American Association of University Women. At the current rate, it will take another 45 years before the pay gap is closed, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. In 2057, women will finally make the same as men.
For moms, it is even worse at 73 cents to every dollar earned by a man, while single mothers make about 60 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In four out of ten households in North Carolina with children under the age of 18, women are the primary breadwinners, according to N.C. Women United.
In North Carolina, 45.6 percent of families in female-headed households with children live in poverty and unemployment in North Carolina continues to be one of the worst in the nation. Moms, the backbone of many households, are suffering from the lack of adequate protections to ensure that women and men are paid equally for equal work. Our families suffer, our economy suffers, and our communities suffer.
I recently spoke with a friend who is the mother of twins, a girl and a boy. She shared her frustration in knowing that, unless things change, her daughter could be bringing home 82 cents for each dollar her son makes when they grow up.
"It's hard to tell one of your children that some of the deck is stacked against her," she said, "but I'll be sure to let both of my children know that equal opportunity is a societal and economic issue, not just a women's issue."
We’ll be talking about what all of us as parents can do to ensure that our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons, while lifting up and celebrating the remarkable women who have broken the molds and who continue to make history before our eyes.
We hope you’ll join us!
Melea Rose-Waters is a local mom and member of MomsRising.