A Message from the Executive Director

April 13, 2015              

While taxpayers everywhere are focused on April 15 as the deadline for filing Federal income tax returns, the day before -- April 14 – is arguably an even more significant date for working women and the families who depend on their income. That date has been designated Equal Pay Day for 2015. On average, women must work an additional 104 days into the new year in order to earn what the average man made in the 12 months of 2014.

That’s because women who work full-time earn just 78% of what men are paid. In 2013, median annual earnings for women were about $10,000 lower than men’s earnings. This gender wage gap has hardly budged in a decade. And it’s even worse for black and Latina women who make 64 and 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by a man. These statistics, from the American Association of University Women (see http://www.aauw.org/2014/09/18/gender-pay-gap/) demonstrate that substantial barriers remain on the road to women’s economic self-sufficiency.

Helping women in need to surmount those barriers is the mission of Wings for Success (www.wingsforsuccess.org). We advocate for policies that support working women and families. We offer practical advice to women who are seeking to join or advance in the workforce.  But we are probably best known for providing up to two weeks’ worth of work-appropriate apparel and accessories to women for job interviews and job training. This free service, provided by volunteer stylists in private dressing rooms at our locations in Frazer and Kennett Square, saves our cash-strapped clients hundreds of dollars that can be used for transportation, food, shelter and childcare.

Since our founding in 1997, Wings for Success has helped more than 8,500 women in Chester County to close the opportunity gap between them and employment.  It is time for our country to close the income gap. It hurts women and the children and other adults in their families who count on their income to pay the bills.  Please contact your US Senators and Representatives and ask them to support legislation to close the gender wage gap.

LeeAnn Riloff, Executive Director, Wings for Success

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