Randi Weingarten: ‘Women Actually Have to Work to Feed Their Families’

By Penny Starr | October 8, 2013 | 4:44 PM EDT

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO labor union, spoke at a feminist gathering on Oct. 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Randi Weingarten, feminist, lesbian and head of the American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO labor union, said at a press conference Tuesday that the poor economy in the U.S. and lower wages for females is forcing women to work.

“We have a war in this country, and it happens when you are in sometimes the worst of the economic issues,” Weingarten said at the Feminist Majority’s Women, Money, and Power Summit in Washington, D.C. “We have huge income inequality where women actually have to work to feed their families.

“Forget about taking a vacation,” Weingarten said. “But just to put shelter up and to feed families.”

Weingarten, who spoke about coming out as a lesbian in 2007 and being a role model for young people, said the slow growth rate in the economy has “marginalized” women, especially those in job fields like health care and education which are predominantly held by women.

“And if you have a situation like we have in America where you only see – you don’t have the Internet bubble, you don’t have the housing bubble – you see economic growth at one or two percent, then what happens if you want a middle class – particularly if women want to be part of the economic middle class – you see this sense of marginalization and this scream fest against women and against professions that help children become part of the middle class and also professions that are dominated by women,” Weingarten said.

Weingarten spoke on a panel discussing the “War on Women” waged by what panelists said are “right wing” and “extremist” legislators in Congress who are opposed to abortion, want to decrease the number of Americans on food stamps, and support voter ID laws.