NEW YORK - January 29, 2014 – Girls Inc. applauds President Barack Obama for his recognition of the economic instability experienced by too many women and girls in his 2014 State of the Union Address and his call to increase college access and end the gender wage gap.
In serving many girls who are first generation college students and some who are also first generation Americans, we understand the obstacles that can prevent even the hardest-working child from attending college. We also see how supporting them on their road to college helps secure a better future for them, their families, and their communities. We thank the President and First Lady Obama for their ground-breaking efforts to boost college accessibility as a pathway to economic security, especially for low-income youth and youth of color. Girls — and all American youth — deserve a fighting chance to realize their dreams and fulfill their potential as emerging leaders and innovators.
We also share President Obama’s belief that women’s success and that of our nation are undeniably linked. Yet, as referenced last night, the gender wage gap is still both an embarrassment and a significant barrier. Women constitute half of the U.S. workforce but earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. For women of color, the gap is even greater: African American women earn 69 cents and Latina women 56 cents on average for every dollar earned by men.
For the girls we serve, two-thirds of whom are girls of color and 70 percent of whom live in families earning $30,000 or less a year, shrinking the gender wage gap and widening access to college dramatically increases their and their families’ opportunity to achieve economic mobility and security. This is why we pledge to continue working for positive change at both the institutional level with government and corporate partners and the individual level.
Last night, President Obama called for a year of action. We join him and urge our government leaders to address these issues critical not only to women and girls, but all Americans and our collective, lasting strength as a nation.