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Mostly Women Workers Would Benefit from $12 Minimum Wage

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By Mary Kuhlman

Momentum is building to raise the federal minimum wage, and a new analysis shows working women in Indiana and other states would benefit the most. Last week, the Raise the Wage Act (S.1150) was introduced in the U.S. Senate. It would increase the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020.

The Center for American Progress crunched the numbers, and its director of Women's Economic Policy, Sarah Jane Glynn, says they found 57 percent of those who would receive a raise are working women.

"Women are much more likely to be concentrated in low wage work than men," says Glynn. "Often times these are workers in industries that are heavily female-dominated, like the service industry, food service, retail, childcare, sectors like that."

Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue it would increase unemployment for lower-skilled workers but Glynn counters past increases have raised earnings and reduced poverty without leading to job losses.

Glynn adds, a person working full time at the current minimum wage would earn just over 15 thousand dollars a year, below the federal poverty line for a household with any number of children.

"These are adults, these are parents, these are people who are still having to rely on public benefits because they are below the poverty line even though they are working full-time," she says. "That really does highlight the fact we need to do something. This is an untenable situation."

Glynn says one-third of women workers who would be affected by the increase are mothers. Indiana's minimum wage is the same as the federal wage of $7.25 cents an hour.

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