Women’s groups return to Capitol petitioning for equal pay

Women’s groups return to Capitol petitioning for equal pay

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The equal pay fight continued at the State Capitol Tuesday, where supporters saw an uphill battle.

Women advocating fair wages are turning to lawmakers again this session to make it happen.

“I asked to be paid the same as the men that I was working with in the office, and they told me no,” said Amanda McMillan.

She was working in Shaw in 2007, when she sued her employer for sex discrimination after being denied equal pay. The EEOC suit was settled in 2011.

Amanda McMillan sued her employer for sex discrimination after reportedly being denied the same pay as a male coworker. The case was settled in 2011. Source: WLBT
Amanda McMillan sued her employer for sex discrimination after reportedly being denied the same pay as a male coworker. The case was settled in 2011. Source: WLBT

She joined other women at the State Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to support equal pay.

“You have mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, people that are important to you as women,” said McMillan. “Please explain to me how you can look at them and say that they don’t deserve to be paid the same as a man.”

The Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative held Advocacy Day at the Capitol.

Cassandra Overton-Welchlin is lead organizer and co-founder of Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable.

Cassandra Overton-Welchlin with MS Black Women's Roundtable addresses inequity issues with lawmakers. Source: WLBT
Cassandra Overton-Welchlin with MS Black Women's Roundtable addresses inequity issues with lawmakers. Source: WLBT

She said in this election year, women need to organize like never before to choose leaders who care about women’s issues.

“We had the question arise to us, ‘why are you still here? The bill has died.' And so we said because we are still important," said Overton-Welchin. “We haven’t died. Our families still work in this community, live in this community. So we’re gonna be here.”

Representative Alyce Clarke (D), Minority Leadership Chair Senator Derrick Simmons (D) and Representative Tracy Arnold (R) have introduced pay equity bills that have died in committee.

“I don’t understand why we can’t get that bill up and out,” said Representative Clarke. “The real truth is, in my opinion, is we just need to get more women heading up committees."

“What we want to do as legislative Democrats is to find an opportunity to make amendments on the floor to any legislation that moving through the process,” said Senator Simmons.

“We’re just trying to do what’s right for the businesses in Mississippi, the families, the single parents in Mississippi. So it’s just a great move to put ms on the map,” added Representative Arnold.

The women’s groups will meet with their legislators and hold training on advocating for their cause throughout the session.

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