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Happy Fourth of July. Now Give Me a Raise

More than 200 years after the Declaration of Independence, women are so financially stretched they would rather work a second job than get time off.

Tomorrow we celebrate the day when America’s founders declared all men are created equal. How fitting we should focus on the equality of men. Because when it comes to pay, women still haven’t achieved equality in this nation, despite the more than 200 years that have gone by since the Declaration of Independence.

So no matter how stressed they are on the job, and how much they ache to spend more time with their families, when asked what they need most, working women today say they need a raise, not more time off from work.

In fact, according to the 2008 Ask a Working Woman survey, women say if they had more available time, the first thing they’d do—before spending time with friends and family, exercising, taking a class or getting more sleep—is work another job.

Work another job!

That’s how low the Bush economy has sunk, and how financially strapped working families have become.

In the survey, which I first noted at FDL here, more than half of the 12,000 respondents say a 10 percent raise tops affordable, high-quality health care or child care as making working women’s lives easier. Results of the survey, sponsored by the AFL-CIO and our community affiliate, Working America, were released June 25.

In addition to the stinking Bush economy, the survey reflects the fact that women today still are paid only 77 cents to the dollar of what men are paid—and that sinks to 72 cents for African American women and 60 cents for Latinas. On average, a 25-year-old working woman will lose more than $523,000 to unequal pay during her working life.

On the eve of Fourth of July, 2008, Kelly, a 2008 Ask a Working Woman respondent, speaks for many of America’s women when she says:

I have to choose everyday if I am going to buy food or gas to get work. Gas always wins, because I need my paycheck to support my family. I never have enough money, ever.

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Tula Connell

Tula Connell