Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson talks equality at SBCC-attended event

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Photo Courtesy of City College adjunct professor, Marian Shapiro

SAMI SOTO, Channels Staff

City College’s Feminist Club had the opportunity to network with local and state politicians at an event in honor of International Women’s Day on Friday afternoon.

The sold-out event brought 160 people together at the Goodland Hotel in Goleta, for the Annual President’s Circle Luncheon of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee. The action committee supports political candidates who have feminist values, and promotes equality.

The event was attended by Assemblyman Das Williams, Helene Schneider, mayor of Santa Barbara and Congresswoman Lois Capps. Also in attendance was State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who served as the keynote speaker.

“It is always surprising to me how all of these really respected people care about our opinions as students,” said Lindsay McLaggan, member of City College’s feminist club. “We’re just undergraduate kids doing undergraduate stuff but they’re open to letting us into their very intimate world of business and communication.”

In addition, the Feminist club had the chance to hear Jackson speak about the battle women face in the fight for equality.

“We are fighting for our very existence nationally,” Jackson said. “If you just look at today, here in California, it’s extraordinary work that we are doing; extraordinary strides that we are making.”

She spoke specifically about the passing of California Fair Pay Act. The bill, which took effect in January, concentrates on equal pay for women and men that is “substantially similar.”

The gender wage gap cheats women out of $39 billion a year which is significant amount for women who provide for a household, Jackson said.

“Today over 50 percent of women here in California are in the workforce,” she said. “Of that, 70 percent are either the sole breadwinner for their families, the primary breadwinner, or their income is necessary for families to meet their basic necessities.”

The California Fair Pay Act looks to change that gap for women in the workforce. Jackson’s efforts in the creation of the bill were substantial.

“It’s amazing how long that took and what she did for that, all of the moves she had to make and the determination that comes from that.” said Maggie Cabrera, a member of the Feminist Club. “It was like getting an inside look.”

The bill passed unanimously at the California Senate floor, and passed with majority at the State Assembly.

“It’s really cool to see all these strong women in one room together, and I hope to learn something” said Noel Jones, a member of the Feminist Club. “Maybe, I’ll be in public office as well.”