LANSING — Rep. Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) — joined by House Democrats’ Women’s Health and Economic Security Task Force co-chairs Reps. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) and Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and League of Women Voters of Michigan Vice President Judy Karandjeff — said Monday night that the ability of women to get equal pay for their work, obtain good-paying jobs and provide economic security for their families is integral to Michigan’s success.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen the leaders of our state Legislature do little to improve the economic security of women in Michigan,” Lamonte said. “A proposal to expand Medicaid for lower-income working families — many of them headed by women — has stalled in the Senate, while a proposal to demand equal pay for equal work hasn’t been taken up by the Legislature. Too many women in our state have no economic security, and that needs to change.”

About 50 people attended the meeting held at Ross Park Elementary School in Norton Shores, which included a question-and-answer segment. Rep. Phil Cavanagh (D-Redford Township), a member of the task force, also attended the meeting.

“Our state cannot truly succeed unless women are given the same opportunities as men to earn a fair wage and to support their families,” Hovey-Wright said. “When a woman is paid less for her labor than a man doing the same job, her whole family loses economic security. When women can’t afford screenings to detect medical illnesses such as breast cancer in its earliest stage, their family suffers, too. We need to make sure women have the same opportunities to succeed.”

Added Irwin, “It’s the job of the Legislature to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity. There is still work to do in making sure that women have equality in the workplace and the support they need to raise healthy families.”

Future Women’s Health and Economic Security Task Force meetings will examine access to health care, and child care and elder care. Upcoming meetings will take place:

  • Monday, July 29, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Canton Township Administration Building, 1150 S. Canton Center Road in Canton (Topic: access to health care)

  • Monday, August 5, from 6-7:30 p.m. in Battle Creek, location to be announced (Topic: child care and elder care)