By Katie Logue, Auburn
There are so many ways that the economy is rigged against women and families and I have seen the impacts first-hand. A few years ago, I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet, making slightly more than the minimum wage ($8 per hour) and trying to support myself and my 6-year-old after my marriage failed.
My son and I were on food stamps and MaineCare, even though I was working full time. No matter how hard I tried to find appropriate housing, there was no way I could afford $900-$1,000 a month for rent. I had a car payment for a car that wasn’t even safe but was my only way to get to work. Even after I finally saved enough to get an apartment, it was impossible to keep up with the bills.
At one point, after being evicted, I was living in a homeless shelter while working full time to save enough to get another apartment.
I know that I am not the only one who has struggled to support my family on poverty wages. I also know that this issue affects women much more than men.
The majority of minimum-wage workers are women, many of us supporting families.
Here in Maine, women still earn, on average, just 84 percent of what our male counterparts earn. It is time for a change.
In January, the Legislature will consider citizen-initiated legislation to increase Maine’s minimum wage. Lawmakers and voters should stand with Maine women and support it. First appeared in the Sun Journal.