The lack of guaranteed paid leave creates economic hardship for the U.S. labor force as well as increased costs to businesses. Without paid sick days, workers face wage or job loss in cases of illness or health emergency. Since women continue to be primary caregivers, the absence of paid sick leave disproportionately affects them. Guaranteeing paid leave is critical to women’s economic security and well-being.
Mothers looking for employment are less likely to be hired, are offered lower salaries and are perceived as being less committed to a job than fathers or women without children, according to a recent study of gender inequality in the workplace. What’s more, the pay gap between mothers and childless women is actually bigger than the pay gap between women and men.
On Tuesday, October 28th, Linda Basch was a featured guest on the nationally-syndicated Jim Bohannon radio show. Focusing on the elections and on women as both voters and candidates, Linda raised some of the key issues of concern to women today, including child care, health care and social security. To hear the broadcast, please click on this link.
May 1, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar The recent health alert on swine flu has serious implications for those surviving at the margins of society without health care, paid sick leave, or other benefits. Women working in low-skill jobs are particularly vulnerable. Judith Warner's piece in the NYT brings much-needed attention to this issue: how to provide economic security for millions of women, particularly those who are single heads of households, working part-time jobs that are tenuously held at best.
It is undeniable that we are facing tough economic times. In January, the unemployment rate registered 7.6% with 11.6 million people lacking jobs. An additional 7.8 million people are deemed underemployed, that is, working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs. And prospects are dimming. According to the Economic Policy Institute , finding a job today is twice as hard as it was when the recession started a year ago. With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA], however, there is some room for hope. Many of our network members are doing excellent work on the stimulus plan. The Ms. Foundation held a conference call to discuss the legislative package and how to secure more jobs for women. The National Women’s Law Center is analyzing the stimulus process and how it affects women and families. Check out their latest breakdown. In examining the bill, we were particularly struck with provisions regarding small businesses, healthcare, education and, especially, job creation. Naturally, we had some questions, for example, what other areas are critical for stimulating growth and supporting women and girls, their families and communities? To find the answers, we turned to our experts:
February 27, 2009 posted by adminThe best thing we can do for women and their families is to get people back to work. We’ve seen 3.6 million jobs disappear over the past year and millions more have seen their hours cut back. The recession is turning out to be deeper and more protracted than many had predicted even a few months ago. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a down payment on creating jobs in the months to come and laying the foundation for long-term economic growth.The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that the recovery package will save or create 3.5 million jobs and that about four in ten of these jobs will go to women workers. In particular, the recovery package will help states avoid some cutbacks, which takes some women’s jobs out of jeopardy since women make up the majority of state and local government workers. But, most importantly, the recovery package will get the economy back on track, which benefits all kinds of families. The recession – so far – is leading to higher unemployment among men than women: as of December 2008, the latest data available by gender, men account for four out of every five jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007. This means that in millions of U.S. households, it is a woman who is supporting the family. This means that families will have to rely increasingly on women’s earnings, which are typically lower than men’s and are less likely to come with health insurance. Now is the time to insist that every woman earns a fair day’s pay.
February 25, 2009 posted by adminOverall, the economic stimulus plan that Congress passed and President Obama signed is a strong package. We fervently hope it will provide the help that struggling families urgently need, and begin putting the nation on the road to lasting economy recovery. We’ve never needed that more. There were victories, large and small, for those of us working for equal opportunity, 21st Century benefits, and quality, affordable health care. The relief for working families and the expansion of unemployment benefits are significant, as is the lower threshold for the child tax credit and increased funding for child care. Not as well known, but extremely important, is the health information technology (HIT) provisions that we fought to maintain. They withstood an attack from pharmaceutical manufacturers, health plans and drug store chains intent on putting profits ahead of privacy. With protections against inappropriate disclosures of health information, electronic medical records can do a tremendous amount to reduce medical errors, coordinate and streamline care, and reduce costs. This was a real step forward.
Below is my exchange with Susan W. Kaufmann, Associate Director for Advocacy at the University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women, where she addresses issues important to women through research and action.She holds an MS in environmental advocacy from the University of Michigan.
Linda Basch: What are the key issues facing women in your state?
Sept 29, 2008 posted by Linda Basch WELCOME! Welcome to The REAL DEAL, the National Council for Research on Women's new blog on issues that matter to women. As I write this first post in the heat of election season and during a time of unprecedented financial turmoil, my thoughts go out to all who are feeling unnerved and confused. I'm thinking of those who risk losing their jobs, or who are uncertain about their businesses and have rents to pay and families to support, and of those who don't quite know where to turn for help. This is a time when we hope for a leadership that can explain and clarify what's at stake, reassure us of a real commitment, and give us some clear steps for going forward. And we at the Council are watching with an eagle's eye.