Women’s equality in the workplace: It’s time to double down

If we want to continue the advancement of women in the workplace, we must put policies in place and challenge the prevailing culture and status quo, just as our predecessors did. There are three main issues that stand out to me as some of the biggest barriers to the continued advancement of women:

1. Child care. There are many ways to approach this issue including flexible work options, subsidized or on-site child care and company policies that support women when they experience child care issues. Another important step would be to institute national paid leave in the United States. Finally, there is a great need to destigmatize women who choose to work less, or not at all, during their children’s early years and to put policies in place to help them reenter the workforce without being penalized.

2. Equal pay. The Equal Pay Act became law almost 60 years ago and yet, women still do not make as much as their male counterparts, and women of color make even less. Pay equity for women is long overdue. When a family is faced with the need to cut back on one parent’s career for child care or elder care reasons, it's typically the person who makes less money, often the mother. Single mothers are also hurt by the lack of pay equity because they are less able to provide for their families.

3. Pay increase. There are certain professions in dire need of an overall pay increase—teachers, home-care and elder care nurses, essential workers, retail/hospitality personnel, etc. Many of these jobs are held by women, and all of them are fundamental to our economy and our society, as the pandemic illustrated to us so clearly. Nobody, male or female, should be unable to support themselves and their family when they work a full-time job.

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