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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Issue of the Week: Helping Working Women Helps Us All

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Gov. Scott Walker, the son of a minister who believes his current political troubles are part of "God's plan" for him, spent part of his Good Friday quietly signing four pieces of legislation that show no compassion for Wisconsin women, especially working women.

Three of the bills limit the role of women in their own health decisions because Walker believes that career politicians like him know best.

The fourth makes it more difficult for women to sue an employer for illegal wage discrimination.

Apparently, Republicans don't believe that the gender wage gap is a problem, even though the U.S. Census showed that, as of 2009, a full-time working woman in Wisconsin earned just 75 cents for every full-time working man's dollar.

Tellingly, Walker's ideological twin, state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), explained that the attack on pay equity is just fine with him because "you could argue that money is more important for men."

Oh, really?

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women's Policy Research, "nearly two-thirds of all households in poverty in Wisconsin are headed by single women and, across the board, women are more likely than men to be poor."

Tell the women and kids who are struggling just to get by that money is less important to them.

Unfortunately, instead of helping working women earn more money and succeed in the workplace, Walker, Grothman and the rest of the Republicans in Madison have done everything they can to restrict women's earning power. In addition to siding with employers who illegally discriminate against their female employees, they've cut wages for public employees (the majority of whom are women), eliminated collective bargaining for home health care workers paid by Medicaid and family child care workers (the vast majority of whom are women), repealed Milwaukee's paid sick days ordinance, tried to weaken Wisconsin's strong Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and have made historic funding cuts to public education at all levels, even though education is the best way to boost a worker's earning power.

While women are taking the brunt of the hits from Republicans, the GOP's attack on working women affects everyone. It tells employers that they don't have to pay fair, competitive wages in Wisconsin. And that weakens the earning power of all workers throughout the state, whether you are a woman or a man.

Heroes of the Week: Cuts 4 A Cause Volunteers

On April 15, Roots Salon looks to create awareness of diseases and treatments that result in hair loss and provide an opportunity for the public to donate hair or money for sick kids with its fifth annual "Cuts 4 A Cause."

Roots stylists will be volunteering their talents from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, when those with at least 6 inches of unbleached hair to donate can receive a free one-hour cut and style. All hair donations go to Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids, which provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. You can also receive a free haircut with a minimum $20 donation, with 100% of funds going to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and Penfield Children's Center.

Appointments are recommended at each of Roots Salon's three locations, 17000 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield (262-780-1429), 5711 Broad St., Greendale (414-235-9415), and 525 E. Chicago St., Milwaukee (414-988-4165).
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