EMILY’s List women have consistently supported increasing the minimum wage. EMILY’s List women have sponsored or co-sponsored over 20 bills since 1989 that would have increased the minimum wage. Their persistence on this issue has helped see the minimum wage nearly double since 1985.
In 1996, they fought back against the Republican House majority attempts to provide so many exemptions to the minimum wage that the bill would become essentially meaningless. EMILY’s List Representative Eva Clayton gave a floor speech, saying “Opponents of a clean vote want to slam the door of opportunity and keep it tightly closed.” The bill was eventually passed and minimum wage rose from $4.25 to $5.15 over two years.
In 2006 Senator Hillary Clinton introduced legislation that would have tied increases to the minimum wage to increases in Congressional pay. She spoke on the Senate floor about people working 40 hours a week and struggling to make ends meet for their families on a minimum wage salary. She argued that Congress could “no longer stand by and regularly give ourselves a pay increase while denying a minimum wage increase to help the more than 7 million men and women working hard across this nation.”
Minimum wage increases disproportionately affect women. Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage earners, and the majority of them do not have the salary of a spouse to rely on.
Minimum Wage Has Nearly Doubled Since 1985. The minimum wage has nearly doubled since 1985. In 1985, the minimum wage was $3.35 an hour, by 2011 it had grown to $7.25 an hour. For workers working a 40-hour week, that equals an increase in earnings from $134 a week to $290 a week. [Labor Law Center, accessed 2/23/12]
Raising the Minimum Wage Helps Women. Women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage earners. More than 2.7 million women 16 and older were paid minimum wage or less in 2010. And, most women making minimum wage do not have a spouse’s income to rely on, including three-quarters of women 16 and older and nearly 57 percent of women over 25. [National Women’s Law Center, accessed 2/24/12]