CAMBRIDGE–Ahead of American Business Women’s Day tomorrow, Democrat for Governor Jay Gonzalez announced a plan today that would aim to level the playing field for working women in Massachusetts and expand economic opportunity.
“We ought to be doing all we can in Massachusetts to create opportunities for women to succeed,” Gonzalez said. “The status quo is not good enough. When women in this state are still fighting to be paid the same as their male counterparts, when they’re still being passed over for higher-earning jobs, and when our policies are still riddled with discrimination, it’s time for some real change. If I’m Governor, I’ll do all I can to ensure women in this state get the fair shot they deserve.”
Chief among Gonzalez’s proposals is a plan to increase representation of women and minorities on boards of companies and organizations that do business with state government. As Governor, Gonzalez would use the purchasing power of state and local governments to require those who do business with government to meet minimum diversity thresholds on their boards. Building on Treasurer Deb Goldberg’s proxy voting initiative through the state pension fund, Gonzalez would require that at least 30 percent of boards of large corporations and non-profits that do business with government are women and minorities.
While supporting an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Gonzalez is also proposing to eliminate the lower minimum wage for tipped workers, which disproportionately impacts women and minorities. According to the Economic Policy Institute, women make up two-thirds of tipped workers. Eliminating the tipped wage would provide service-industry workers with a steadier, more reliable and higher income.
Gonzalez’s plan also calls for an end to gender discrimination in disability insurance benefits. Social Security disability benefits and Worker’s compensation disability benefits are gender neutral. Yet, in Massachusetts, women are typically charged between 25 percent and 75 percent more than men of similar age and occupation for private disability insurance. Massachusetts law prohibits gender discrimination in pricing nearly all other types of insurance, and it is well past time to stop discriminatory pricing of disability insurance that unfairly cost women more money.
In the plan released today, Gonzalez also calls for the following initiatives to increase economic opportunity and support for women:
Eliminating the gender wage gap for state employees and other initiatives that will make Massachusetts a leader in achieving pay equity;
· Making paid family and medical leave available to every worker;
· Ensuring every family has access to affordable, high-quality child care and preschool;
· Securing access to reproductive health care; and
· Making college affordable and providing relief from the burden of student debt.
Read the full plan here.
[From a News Release]