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Rep. Steckman: “Same pay for same work benefits all Iowa families

From Rep. Sharon Steckman –

Sharon Steckman
Sharon Steckman

Fair pay for hard work should not be dependent on the gender of the worker. The needs of working families, from the costs of healthcare, childcare, food, and shelter have changed, but the workplace has not.

Today, two out of three women are equal or sole breadwinners in their household. And 40% of those households with women as the sole breadwinners have children at home.  This gap in pay makes it harder for families to pay bills and live comfortably.

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, women in Iowa are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly wage gap of $10,680 between men and women who work full time in the state. Iowa has the nation’s 17th largest gap between what men and women workers earn.

Nationally, closing the pay gap would lift almost 3 million women out of poverty, cutting the poverty rate for working women in half. These increased wages would mean an additional $447.6 billion in additional income for women, a great deal of purchasing power that would help all aspects of the economy.

In 2009, Iowa lawmakers passed an equal pay law that prohibits retaliation against employees involved in legal proceedings regarding unequal pay. However, there is nothing prohibiting retaliation against employees who inquire about or discuss pay levels in the workplace.  Currently, 12 states prohibit retaliation against workers who ask others about their pay or disclose their own pay.

In the last legislative session, some lawmakers also offered an amendment to require that businesses accepting state contracts must offer same pay for the same work for their employees, but the amendment was rejected by the House Majority party.

Apply for Heating Assistance Beginning November 1

Now that the cold weather has arrived, many people are getting their furnaces tuned up for the winter months, and some are concerned about the cost of their heating bills.  Beginning November 1, residents that qualify can sign up to receive assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  Households that qualify are protected from natural gas or electric service disconnections from November 1 through April 1.

In order to qualify for LIHEAP, the total household income must be at or below 175% of the federal poverty level.  Persons interested in applying should contact their local community action agency, which can be found by visiting, or can call the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in the Department of Human Services at 515-281-0859.

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