“Women are worth more than spare change.” [VIDEO]

Olivia Roskill, a high school student in Redmond, WA, testifies to the Washington State House Labor Committee in favor of the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (HB 1646), February 2, 2015:

Chair, and members of the Committee, thank you for having me here today. My name is Olivia Roskill and I attend high school in Redmond, WA. I’m one of many students here with MomsRising today.

Can the students in favor of equal pay for equal work please briefly stand?

Today we are here for, and I’m testifying in favor of, the Equal Pay Opportunity Act.

Fair pay is extremely important to me. As a Sophomore, I’m starting to think about college and possible careers. My friends and I should be able to make the most out of our futures and have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Fairness and equality are bedrock values that we’ve been taught. And we’re shocked that all these years after our great grandmothers helped win the right to vote — and our grandmothers and mothers fought for equal rights, we’re still so far off.

Right now, on average, according to the US Census, women make only 78 cents to a man’s dollar, with moms and women of color experiencing more extreme wage hits. These wage hits are just not right — and are just not fair.

One day, far in the future, I, like more than 80% of women, might have children. But knowing that the wage hits are even more extreme for moms is really concerning. It’s time to take steps to end unfair pay practices – and that starts with advancing pay transparency through the Equal Pay Opportunity Act.

In closing, I want to share what some of the students who are here with me today have to say:

Megan, shared this: “I want to know that my hard work will pay off. I want to be valued just as much as my male counterparts.”

Connor had this to say: “We have a responsibility to treat and pay people equally for equal work.”

And Lilly said: “Equal pay is a basic human right.”

Please move to pass the Equal Pay Opportunity Act as soon as possible. Women are worth more than spare change.

Thank you.

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