For the first time in US history women are about to become the majority of the nation's paid workers. The recently released Shriver Report: A Women's Nation Changes Everything is a comprehensive study of this milestone. Today, women are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in 63.3% of American families.
"The changes in social policies, such as paid family medical leave, universal childcare, caregiving credits for social security, and pay equity, to deal with the reality of today's employed women are long overdue," said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "We have been working for these changes for several decades. Hopefully, women becoming the majority of the US workforce is the wakeup call needed to make the changes now."
Though women are about to be the majority of US paid workers, women are still discriminated against in wages, benefits, pensions, and social security. Workers still do not have paid family medical leave guaranteed nationwide (although numerous countries do) and very limited public funded child care. In fact, half of all women employees do not have one paid sick day. Moreover, the federal guarantee of unpaid Family Medical Leave only covers 47% of private sector workers.
Despite women's contributions to the paid workforce, the social polices of our government still do not recognize the changed role of women. Ms. magazine is releasing to the public a feature article, "Paycheck Feminism" (see PDF), which proposes the 5 next steps we as a nation must take to change government social policies.
Media Resources: The Shriver Report 10/09; Ms. Magazine 10/19/09; Interview with Eleanor Smeal 10/19/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .