The UW-Women’s Studies Consortium is concerned that the “Budget Repair Bill” will devastate Wisconsin women. Women make up 90 percent or more of our state’s registered nurses, preschool and kindergarten teachers and childcare workers, as well the majority of middle school and high school teachers. Consequently, a majority of the people losing bargaining rights are women.
Wisconsin women are already worse off than women in most of the rest of the country. “[White] women in Wisconsin have among the lowest wage ratios compared to men in the country: they earn only 71 cents to men’s dollar and rank 45th among the states on this indicator.” Thirty percent of African American women in Wisconsin live in poverty, double the overall national rate. Unions are one of the most effective tools for fighting these inequalities.
Women’s health care will also be negatively affected. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health reports that the bill eliminates BadgerCare for 55,000 families, reduces Title V program funding for sexual assault victim services and repeals the law requiring birth control coverage. Provisions in the bill could seriously restrict access to contraception for nearly 300,000 women depending on publicly supported services.
Clearly, this piece of legislation will not serve our state’s citizens well, but it is particularly damaging for Wisconsin women.
On behalf of the members of the UW-Women’s Studies Consortium,
Theresa Kemp, UWEC Women’s Studies Program Coordinator