SACRAMENTO -- Capitalizing on the national focus Tuesday on the pay gap between sexes, Assembly Democrats announced the formation of a new select committee to examine challenges faced by women in the workplace.
"Women's role in the workplace has grown dramatically over the last half-century," said Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). "With that increased participation has come a whole host of issues that need to be addressed. California has been a leader on women's issues. We want to make sure we remain a leader."
The announcement came on Equal Pay Day, the date that symbolizes how far into 2013 the average American woman must work to earn what the average American male made in 2012.
Democrats nationwide have been highlighting "paycheck fairness" today; in Washington, President Obama signed two executive directives aimed at ensuring that federal contractors pay male and female employees equally for equal work.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who will chair the committee, said the panel will examine pay equity in addition to other concerns of working women, such as availability of child care and self-sufficiency of female-headed households.
"As a breadwinner mom myself and former labor leader, I've experienced firsthand the ways in which our workplaces and schools could be more accommodating to women, especially women with young children," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said she anticipates legislative proposals next year resulting from the committee's recommendations.