Obama takes on the gender wage gap while Democrats campaign hard on women's economic issues

"I want to make sure my daughters get the same chances as men," Obama said Thursday

Published March 20, 2014 9:12PM (EDT)

                      (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Democrats are campaigning hard this election season on the issue of economic inequality -- specifically women's economic opportunities.

Texas' Wendy Davis has made pay equity and access to higher education central to her campaign against Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes has hit Mitch McConnell hard on his record on equal pay in her campaign to become the state's first female senator, and President Obama on Thursday launched a national push to narrow the gender pay gap.

Obama began the multi-city tour on women's economic issues in Florida, telling the crowd there that the fight to ensure women have a fair shot was close to his heart.

"I have a personal stake in seeing women get ahead," Obama said. "I want to make sure my daughters get the same chances as men."

In a series of stops across the country, the president will to emphasize efforts to raise the minimum wage, reduce the gender pay gap, and make affordable childcare and early education programs more accessible, according to the White House.

Speaking at a college in Orlando, the president echoed his State of the Union remarks on the issue (sans "Mad Men" reference), telling the crowd that the persistence of the gender wage gap -- women make an average of 77 cents on the dollar, though the disparity is greater for black and Latina women -- was unacceptable.

"That's wrong," he said. "This isn't 1958. This is 2014."



By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Education Gender Pay Gap Pay Equity Poverty Sexism Texas Wendy Davis Women And The Economy