The voice of De Anza since 1967.

Equal pay, fair opportunities for women in Silicon Valley

June 9, 2016

Collaboration of all women, regardless of social status, will help defeat gender inequality and build a better future for women, said an activist of women’s rights.

Advocates for women’s rights discussed gender equity and strategies in achieving equal rights in a panel hosted by the Jean Miller Resource Room for Women, Gender and Sexuality at De Anza College.

When women band together to demand what they deserve, we are more powerful

— Julia Ramirez, policy analyst for the Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy

“From the playground, to high school, to college, and finally workforce, women are treated differently,” said Julia Ramirez, policy analyst for the Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy.

Ramirez said the priorities of the Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy for 2016 as ending violence against women, addressing the needs of women and girls in the justice system and economic advancement.

According to the American Association of University Women, the California pat gap is 16 percent, meaning that women working full-time only make 84 percent of what men earn. This pay gap is consistent even when data is stratified into occupations, meaning that nearly every line of work finds men earning more than women.

“Equal pay may not seem like the issue that can permeate the community, but it does,” Ramirez said. “When women band together to demand what they deserve, we are more powerful.”

The panelist, which include Joan Goddard of activist organizations. The panel also featured cookies with a slice cut out of them to represent the inequality in pay.

Shay Franco-Clausen, Deputy  campaign manager for San Jose councilmember Ash Kalra, said she received a letter from one of the women in the criminal justice system who she had previously worked with. She became emotional as she read the letter, and spoke passionately on why women in the criminal justice system mattered.“We all have different backgrounds but one thing we can agree on is that we need to help push women forward,” Franco-Clausen said. “We have to collaborate to build better opportunities for women to push forward.”

Franco-Clausen spoke about coming from a low-income household that struggled to make ends meet. She said that people came into her life and helped enable her to become the person she is today.

“I wish I could help every child, every high school student, every college student, I can’t,” Franco-Clausen said. “But if I can empower women to get ahead and be more powerful; those are the reasons I do it.”

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