Guzman calls for legislation to prevent employers for discriminating for COVID-gaps on resume
By Elizabeth Guzman
March 24 marks the day through which women have to work in order to earn what a man doing the same job made in the previous year. When broken down by race, Black, Indigenous and Latina women have to work much further into the year, with Equal Pay Days on Aug. 22, Sept. 23, and Nov. 20, respectively. It must also be noted that many women and women of color have put their lives on the line to keep this nation running as frontline workers — even as they face both pay discrimination and targeted violence, as we saw in the murders of Asian-American women last week in Atlanta. Racism and misogyny often intersect.
About 2.4 million women left the workforce in the last year, a number that is a third higher than the approximately 1.8 million men who left the workforce. Many left to care for their families and help oversee their children’s education. Too many employers view that decision as a step back when in reality these women were stepping up. Others remained in our jobs as we struggled to balance working from home; I am lucky that my mother lives with us and could help care for my children because I could not have managed everything without additional support.
I once left a job at a tile company because I found out my male colleagues were being paid more than me even though we had the same responsibilities. After I left, they hired three people to do my job. As a mom and a senior manager in the public sector, I have had to work twice as hard to get where I am today. We deserve equal pay for equal work, and it is time we close the gap. Finally, having children and a full-time job should not disqualify someone from serving as your next Lt. Governor. Most working parents cannot afford the luxury of quitting their jobs to hold elected office, which is why we have a Senate that kills or waters down bills that benefit working people; there is a disconnect between them and the working families they were elected to represent.
As lieutenant governor, I will work to find patrons in the House and Senate who would be willing to work with me to craft legislation that would ban employers from discriminating against people of all genders who have pandemic-related employment gaps on their resumes. We need to make it easier, not harder, for women who want to return to work.
Elizabeth Guzman, a social worker and public administrator who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates, is a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for lieutenant governor.