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Brent: Eighth Annual Women's Lobby Day seeks to empower women by engaging advocates from across the state

Discussion and advocacy focuses on equal opportunity for better lives, brighter futures for all Ohioans
May 2, 2019
Juanita O. Brent News

State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) today joined the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus (OHDWC) in hosting the eight annual Women’s Lobby Day, a legislative advocacy day at the Statehouse pushing for women’s social and economic equality featuring a panel of women lawmakers.

“From restrictions to women’s healthcare to the gender wage gap, women and girls in Ohio are being left behind,” said OHDWC Chair Tavia Galonski (D-Akron). “Closing the wage gap would mean more food on the table, more gas in tank and more money available for a rent or mortgage payment. As long as pay discrimination persists, we are cheating families out of their full earning power.”

The annual event brings elected officials and advocates together to discuss and lobby for policy solutions to the many challenges Ohio women and families still face today. The program included policy briefings from women lawmakers and allowed guests the opportunity to meet and lobby with legislators during the afternoon.

“As your state elected officials, we have a responsibility to legislate opportunity for all, but too many Ohio women are still greatly disadvantaged today at no fault of their own,” said Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “The wage gap affects not only women, but also their families and local communities. Now, it’s up to us to restore Ohio’s promise of a better life and brighter future for everyone by ensuring women have the tools they need to succeed.”

In Ohio, the average working woman earns 78 percent of what her male counterpart earns.* Based on today’s wage gap, a woman who worked full time, year round would typically lose $10,169 per year or $406,760 over a 40-year career. She would have to work nearly ten years longer than her male counterpart to make up this lifetime wage gap.

“With women making up nearly half of Ohio’s workforce, unpaid family and medical leave on top of Ohio’s gender wage gap is not a viable option for families struggling to make ends meet,” said Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus). “Our neighbors deserve the opportunity to get ahead, not just get by. Ensuring equal pay for equal work will help all Ohio families.”

The OHDWC also outlined their policy priorities for the remainder of the General Assembly, which include:

  • Ohio Equal Pay Act- to require employers to provide equal pay and opportunity in the workplace regardless of gender, encourage transparency in the workplace and empower employees to negotiate for the earnings they deserve.
  • Working Families First Tax Credit- to remove Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) income caps and make credits refundable for taxpayers.
  • Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program- to provide 12 weeks of family and medical leave benefits that can be used to address a serious health condition, to care for a family member or to bond with a new child.
  • Eliminate the tampon tax- to eliminate the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads and menstrual cups.
  • Eliminate the statute of limitations for rape- to eliminate Ohio’s statute of limitations for rape, which is currently 20 years.

The mission of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus is to develop and pass policies and legislation that improve the lives of Ohio women and their families; to identify and support emerging women leaders by serving as mentors; to educate and empower women and increase women's involvement in public life and in the Ohio General Assembly.

Here is what other Democratic lawmakers are saying about Women’s Lobby Day:

“I was thrilled to help welcome hundreds of women from across Ohio to this year’s Women’s Lobby Day,” said Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo). “It is extremely important for women to be engaged in the political process, especially at the Statehouse. I am proud to be a female legislator, standing up each and every day to fight for issues that matter most to women in Ohio.”

“In all fifty states, working women make up the majority of households benefitting from both federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits,” said Rep. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus). “In line with the Ohio Promise, a refundable EITC would provide a pathway out of poverty for working families to earn and save, build assets, and create a better future for themselves and their children.”

“It is incredibly important that we empower Ohio’s women and girls, who are the pillars of our communities,” said Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton). “I look forward to supporting legislation to improve health, safety and quality of life for all Ohio women and families.”

“I have a young daughter who I want to make certain has an equal opportunity when she grows up, but regardless, we should all be concerned about the equal treatment of women and the policies that impact them the most,” said Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon). “Women in Ohio and across the country face pay discrimination, higher healthcare costs, domestic and sexual abuse, lost work and wages due to lack of paid family leave or universal pre-K and all-day kindergarten, and many other disparities. We must address the reality that 51 percent of Ohio’s population are put on an inequitable playing field.”

“It is vital that we continue to have a Women’s Lobby Day at the Statehouse,” said Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland). “When women lobby for important policies like equal pay, family leave and eliminating the statute of limitations on rape, they are not only lobbying to better their own lives, but also to improve the lives of their families, communities and all of Ohio. When women lead, Ohio will succeed.”