Duluth city leaders, community members celebrate signing of Womens Economic Security Act

By KBJR News 1

May 12, 2014 Updated May 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- City councilors, TakeAction MInnesota, County Commissioners and women throughout the community gathered at City Hall to celebrate the signing of the Women's Economic Security Act into law .

Governor Dayton signed the bill into law on Mother's Day.

The group celebrated some of the highlights of the bill..including closing the gender pay gap , and allowing women to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave instead of the current six for maternity leave.

Currently women make up more than half of the work force in Minnesota.

Elizabeth Olson with Take Action Minnesota says working mothers are generally the breadwinners in the family, but still make an average of 76 cents of every dollar a man makes.

Olson says the bill is a victory for the state of Minnesota, but there are still barriers holding women back.

"Women are often primary caregivers. Women in working families fall behind in our economy. but we can do something about this. The women's economic security act was a huge step forward. We can continue where it left off and further policies that help women and working families succeed," said Elizabeth Olson with Take Action, Minnesota.

"Women as we know carry a disproportionate amount of burden when it comes to raising families. When it comes to participating in a low wage work place and when women do better, families do better, when families do better, communities do better, It is imperative that we set policies that make a difference in the lives of women," said Duluth City Councilor Emily Larson.

Other provisions of the bill include more workplace protections for pregnant and nursing women and an extension that allows employees to use existing sick leave to recover from sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking.

Three city councilors will present a resolution at tonight's meeting asking for the council's support for improving the lives of working women.

There are many things on the resolution including increasing income for working women, and providing incentives to get more women into nontraditional, high wage jobs

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati