Did you know that most minimum wage workers are women? Young people, those living in poverty, and single mothers comprise a huge number of the millions of Americans currently working for a few dollars per hour. So it makes sense that many of the loudest voices in the "Fight for $15" movement are female. Some are wealthy, some poor, some famous writers, politicians, and activists. Some are regular Americans working at McDonald's and trying to get by. Wonderfully, in this day and age of social media, anyone can hear the stories of incredible women fighting for the $15 minimum wage.
In recent years, individual cities with millions of low-income workers have raised the minimum wage, including New York and Los Angeles. But it's not enough. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and 23 percent are women of color, according to the National Women's Law Center. Given those statistics, all women should come out to support our sisters, and the millions of other Americans who live on a low wage. Now, Fight for $15 is organizing protests all over the country and is pushing the issue into the national political conversation. At Tuesday's GOP debate, for example, Donald Trump and Ben Carson both claimed American "wages are too high." These strong women disagree.
1) Kenyatta Watson
Watson, a Burger King worker in Mississippi, shared the story of her struggle to support her family via social media.
2) Jamilah Nasheed
Nasheed is a Democratic politician and member of the Missouri State Senate. In 2014 she sponsored a bill to increased Missouri's minimum wage from $7.50 to $10.
3) Hillary Clinton
In the past, she's advocated a $12 minimum wage. But recently, Clinton tweeted her support to workers.
4) Elizabeth Warren
In 2013, the progressive senator from Massachusetts suggested the minimum wage could have reached $22 per hour if it accurately reflected worker productivity.
5) Nadja Atwal
The film producer and businesswoman has been a vocal advocate on social media for the $15 minimum wage.
6) Adriana Alvarez
Alvarez, a McDonald's worker and single mom in Chicago, gained notoriety when she wrote the article "What It's Really Like To Support Yourself On McDonald's Pay." "With child care, transportation to work, food, rent, and our other basic expenses, there’s no money left over for living. Every time I think about taking Manny somewhere fun, like to a movie, I have to think about whether we can really afford the gas," she wrote.
7) Frida Berrigan
Berrigan, a columnist and author, frequently writes about working mothers. "Workers being paid $10 an hour for Walmart's 34-hour work week bring home $17,680, qualifying them for food stamps, Section 8 housing, school lunch program, Medicaid and other public support programs. Basically people are working full time, but not making a living," she writes.
8) Bettie Ann Douglas
McDonald's worker and activist Douglas has traveled internationally to share her story of living on minimum wage. "I want to do what's best for my son but often that comes with grave sacrifice," she writes. "After I buy his uniforms and supplies for school, I'm usually only left with enough money to keep the water on and take the bus to work."
9) Kshama Sawant
The newly re-elected Seattle City Council member is originally from India. Now, she's a socialist and activist fighting hard for $15.
10) Gwen Moore
The Democratic representative from Wisconsin was arrested in Sept. 2014 along with 26 fast food workers at a protest. Moore was picketing outside a McDonald's near Milwaukee. "I take great pride in supporting Milwaukee workers as they risk arrest in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for their families," she later said.
11) Dolores Huerta
Legendary civil rights leader, advocate for workers, women, and immigrants, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Huerta marched in solidarity with minimum wage workers in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
12) Christine Pelosi
Democratic political strategist and daughter of Nancy Pelosi was instrumental in getting the $15 minimum wage on the Democratic Party's official platform in 2015.
13) Cecile Richards
Richards, who is president of Planned Parenthood, supported the increase in minimum wage.
14) Mary Kay Henry
The longtime labor unionist and president of the Service Employees International Union vehemently advocates for the $15 movement.
15) Chelsea Kent
The political blogger, who goes by the name Lollipop Crumbs, is a major Bernie Sanders supporter and has thousands of supporters on Twitter.