WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Congresswoman Hopes to Help Women Business Leaders

May 4, 2015

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) is looking for ways to ensure women are treated more fairly in the workplace. On Monday she held a meeting with women business leaders in Galesburg as part of what she's calling a week-long women’s economic security tour. Tuesday she'll visit the communities of Peoria and Cuba.

Bustos said she could use the input gathered during the week to draft legislation.

One issue that came up during the stop in Galesburg was equal pay. Bustos said in her congressional district, a woman makes on average 73-cents for every dollar earned by a man.  She said passing the Paycheck Fairness Act could help bring some transparency and protections for employees.

“If an employee wants to talk about what she makes in the work world, there should not be repercussions for sharing that information,” Bustos said.

Another concern raised during the discussion was child care.  Participants said more options should be available to working parents.

“We heard an example of a woman who had subsidized child care, who would not have only been able to go back to school, but wouldn’t have even been able to go back to work, had she not had that help,” Bustos said.

Other topics discussed included raising the minimum wage, giving workers sick pay leave, and making sure transportation options are available.