When 9to5 member Kiki Peppard was a young mom she had 19 different job interviews where she was denied employment because she had to reveal the fact that she was a single mom.
For last two decades she has led a fight for state legislation to stop parental discrimination that disproportionately impacts woman.
Sunday may be Father's Day but June 12 is Mothers' Equal Pay Day, recognizing how far into 2014 moms must work to earn the same wages that fathers made in 2013 alone. On average, full-time working moms make only 69 cents to every dollar earned by full-time working dads.
"Most people are not aware that in 28 states, including mine, it is totally legal to ask a job candidate about their marital or parental status during job interviews," Peppard said. "Employers use this information to disqualify women with children from jobs they are qualified to fill -- simply because they are mothers."
Today we recognize Mothers' Equal Pay Day because stories like Peppard's are not unique:
- On average, women in the workforce who become mothers experience a pay cut, whereas fathers receive a "bump" in their wages.
- Expecting mothers continue to be forced out of their jobs or onto unpaid time off because their employers will not allow them simple accommodations to keep their pregnancies healthy.
- Nearly one in five low-wage working moms have lost a job due to sickness or caring for a sick child.
Because women are now breadwinners or co-breadwinners in almost two-thirds of American households, these discriminatory and inflexible workplace policies hurt families, communities and our economy.
9to5 continues to advocate for family-friendly legislation and tackle the complex issues that contribute to the mommy wage gap.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen current equal pay laws by allowing workers to discuss their wages without retribution, providing greater incentives to close the pay gap, and toughening the penalties for wage discrimination.
We need to build support for Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance, a program that allows working families to take paid time off to care for a new born child or sick family member.
And more jobs need to offer earned sick days. More than 80 percent of low wage workers don't have access to a single paid sick day for themselves or their children. Working moms carry the brunt of financial distress when having to call off work to take care of a sick child, and are often at risk of losing employment altogether.
These common sense solutions are good for families and the economy. Women make three-quarters of purchasing decisions. When women don't have adequate funds in their pockets, our entire economy - built on consumer spending - suffers.
Working moms like Kiki Peppard and their families can't afford to be shortchanged by the wage gap and discriminatory workplace policies. As we approach Father Day's, join Kiki and 9to5 members nationwide to build support for common sense policy solutions that help moms and dads.
Follow Linda Meric on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LindaMeric