New report on women in the workforce reinforces need for change in federal policy and business practices

LatinaLista — When Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress released The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation, it officially validated what everyone already knew:

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For the first time in our history, women now make up half of all workers in the United States.

Mothers are now the primary breadwinners–making as much as or more than their spouse or doing it all on their own–in nearly 4 in 10 families.

Nearly half of families with children consisted of a male breadwinner and a female homemaker in 1975. Today, that number is just one in five families.

In 1975, single parents made up only 1 in 10 of our families with children. Now, single-parent households are one in five of our families with children.

Yet, while these facts, in and of themselves, are liberating examples of what women have been accomplishing all along, it doesn’t solve the myriad of problems that still exist for women in the labor force — wage differences, taking time off to care for sick children or elderly parents, etc.

Well, now the second half of the Shriver Report attempts to address these ongoing issues with women workers in the new Center for American Progress report

Our Working Nation: How Working Women Are Reshaping America’s Families and Economy and What It Means for Policymakersf

The new report focused on four key areas where policy and private business changes are essential to meet the reality of today’s workforce: Update basic labor standards in recognition that most workers have family responsibilities; Improve fairness in workplace by ending discrimination; Provide direct support to working families with childcare and eldercare; and Analyze current state and local work-life policies for families.

The report’s authors offer suggestions to Congress on how to actively create policies that address this change in the American workforce. Among the suggestions are:

Require employers to limit mandatory overtime and provide predictable schedules

Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover all workers

Work with Congress to Pass the Federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Act

Improve enforcement of our pregnancy and caregiving discrimination laws

Adopt family-friendly antidiscrimination statutes

 

Increase access and affordability of long-term care insurance

With most workers under the age of 40 never knowing anything else than to have women in the workforce, this report underscores the need to get the corporate and federal sectors caught up with the fact that women are an equally integral part of the nation’s workforce, and as such, have unique needs that must be met to ensure the smooth running of this nation’s businesses.

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