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20 Years Ago, America Became a More Family Friendly Nation – And we Must Do It Again

Posted by YWM on February 15, 2013

debra nessDebra Ness, President, National Partnership

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post

February 5, marked a historic and celebratory moment in our nation’s history.

Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law the very first bill of his administration, and its first word is “family.” Since then, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has enabled millions of mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters to get and provide critical care without risking their jobs or health insurance protections. It has provided job-protected, unpaid leave for moms and dads to care for babies, adult children to care for ailing older parents, workers to recover from serious illness, and much more.

At the National Partnership — then the Women’s Legal Defense Fund — the signing of the FMLA was the culmination of years of leadership and hard work drafting, coalition building, advocating, communicating, occasionally compromising and, most importantly, never giving up on our vision for a more family-friendly America.

“Groundbreaking” is a word that’s thrown around a lot, but this victory truly was. The FMLA is the first national law ever to help Americans manage the dual demands of work and family. It was made possible by a broad coalition of 200 diverse groups and by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who knew it was time to start changing the culture in this country.

And we prevailed, for the good of the nation.

Today, 20 years later, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times. Many Americans take for granted that working people have access to job-protected, unpaid leave when serious medical needs arise — a testament to the great success of the law. For an entire generation, taking leave under the FMLA has been a fundamental, unquestioned right.

The tremendous impact of the FMLA on people’s lives and the culture of the nation are real reasons for us all to celebrate. But this anniversary is also a stark reminder of how long it has been since lawmakers have come together to prioritize the needs of America’s working families. And data from the Department of Labor (DOL), released just yesterday, make painfully clear the urgency for further progress.

According to the DOL’s first survey of the FMLA in 13 years, 40 percent of the workforce is not covered by the FMLA’s protections. And the inability to afford to take unpaid leave is the most common reason workers who are covered by the law say they didn’t take leave when they needed it. (A more detailed analysis of the DOL’s findings can be found here.)

These gaps are the result of dramatic changes in our workforce in the past two decades, and the fact that the FMLA was meant to be just a first step on the road to a family-friendly America. Twenty years later, the country has yet to take the next step. And the bipartisanship and commitment to a better country for working people that made FMLA possible seems a distant and fading memory.

Fortunately, there is hope. More and more lawmakers and others recognize family-friendly policies as essential to families’ economic security, to the success of businesses, and to restoring the vitality of our nation’s economy.

The American public recognizes this as well. There are significant opportunities for progress on the horizon, and a growing body of research that shows that Americans, across demographic and party lines, want — and urgently need — Congress to move the country forward. In fact, according to recent polling, the overwhelming majority of Americans say they struggle to manage work and family obligations. Eighty-six percent say Congress should consider new laws that would help, like a paid family and medical leave insurance program.

Paid leave policies benefit working families, businesses and our national economy. They keep people working, level the playing field for businesses, reduce reliance on public assistance and much, much more. Paid leave policies are win-win-win, and it is time for members of Congress to make the introduction and passage of a national standard a top priority.

Twenty years ago, America became a more family friendly nation. We can — and must — do it again.

You can find out more about the FMLA, its history, and the need for next steps at www.NationalPartnership.org/FMLA.

Posted in Families, Financial Security, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The role of women in international housing

Posted by egehl on August 22, 2012

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to the other side of the world for the first time.  I’ve always heard that being in Asia was quite different and a unique experience, and I certainly found that to be true when I ventured to the Philippines.  The purpose of the trip was to join my colleagues from Habitat for Humanity to take part in an international development course to learn about informal housing, urbanization, and what to do about the housing crisis facing cities worldwide.  I am new to international housing as my work has always focused on US related matters and policies, therefore I found this chance be exposed to the housing issues and challenges facing populations in need abroad an exciting opportunity.

The Philippines is known for having a large poor population, especially overcrowded Manila which is the most densely populated city in the world, with almost half of its citizens considered to be urban poor.  The city is grappling with how to properly house its neediest citizens, and what to do about the existing substandard housing that so many live in.  NGO’s like Habitat are trying to address this challenge and come up with ways to deal with the lack of adequate housing in a growing city.  It’s overwhelming when you think about it, but there are incremental ways to tackle this problem and one of those is by empowering women.

The full involvement of women is the best guarantee that any housing project will be a success.

Women must play a full role in all planning and implementation of improving living conditions.  They are the ones who already have strong social networks within a community and are often the primary caretakers of the community’s homes and households.  They have the most to gain from a good community housing project, and the most of to lose if their housing conditions are bad or unsafe.

Current statutory and customary laws in many countries limit women’s access to land and other types of property.  In fact, women own less than 15 percent of land worldwide, which is why a new land tenure law in Bolivia is notable.  The new law state’s that property rights should be registered in favor of both spouses or partners, detailing their full name.

Until now only a man’s name was on land rights documentation and if he had a spouse or partner it would not say the actual name of the spouse.  This caused confusion around land rights, and if the man had a mistress she could claim rights to the property.  This change appears to be such a small development, yet so consequential for Bolivian women because a full name on documentation is the first step to ensuring their land rights.

Involving women in housing around the globe, whether it’s around land rights or improving their living conditions, is key to creating healthier, safer, and better housing for families.  When improving informal housing settlements, often women have the greatest ability to mobilize support or opposition to any intervention in their settlement so their full involvement and participation is instrumental to any housing project.  Involving women in housing, like the example in Bolivia, also builds capacities and confidence while it enhances a woman’s status and helps undermine entrenched patterns of inequality.  When women play a large role in their housing situation, it ensures that the design of the home and community matches their family’s needs, and it enhances their status in the community as key actors in its long-term development.

There have been policies to address women’s needs in poor countries such as the Global Resources for Women to Thrive, or GROWTH Act, which passed in 2010.  This bill created an incentive fund at USAID to actively encourage economic opportunity projects that incorporate women’s needs in developing countries.  It offers women a range of tools to lift themselves out of poverty by helping them start and expand businesses, enhance their land and property rights, and help to ensure their access to the benefits of trade.

In order for countries like the Philippines to address their housing challenges and be able to provide affordable homes for their low-income populations they must take gender equity into consideration, especially if a woman is the head of the household.  This entails three key elements including advancing women’s equal participation as home partners and financial managers, protecting human rights for women and girls, and reducing inequality to resources by including women as decision makers at the household and community level.

Posted in Advocacy, Financial Security, Gender Discrimination, Global | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

3 strategies to get the pay you deserve without being greedy or pushy

Posted by ptanji on May 31, 2012

By Patty Tanji
First published on the Next Steps Follies

Getting paid what you are worth is neither greedy nor pushy but rather earned and must be expected.

Do the Research

1.  Before asking your boss for a raise ask Mr. Google: Determine if you are being underpaid, overpaid, or somewhere in between. You must find out what people in other companies are paid who do your job and also those in your current company.

What do other companies pay?  Mr. Google lists many sites. Salary.com, payscales.com, glassdoor.com, simplyhired.com.

I did a quick search on “dog kennel maintenance wages’ spurned on by a teenage friend’s story. Turns out she is paid 30 cents/hour less than her colleague, a male, her age, same grade (11th ).  Check out the results here: http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-dog+kennel+maintenance

The salary range is daunting but can be made more accurate by putting in more data like age, experience, education, etc. Do not think of the lowest range as a place to start. Determine the level of skill, responsibility, education, years of service, etc. before coming up with your own range from which to begin negotiation.

What does your boss pay? Asking what others make inside your company is a little more tricky and often frowned upon by employers. And, like the example above, where my teenage friend learned she was getting paid less than her colleague, the information can be learned quite by accident. She was verifying hours worked with her team member who showed her his pay stub.  So, employees do learn what others make but mostly by accident.

Another way to find out what your boss pays other employees at your company is to ask, at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner. As an exploration of  what your quality of life will be like in the future if you stay employed there. You might try asking:

How does my salary fit with how others are paid in the company?

Is my salary at the top of the pay scale?  Is there room for growth?

Am I paid more or as much as others?

In case you are worried that your boss will fire you if you ask your colleague what she is getting paid, check out this article. Seems the National Labor Relations Act say otherwise:  http://www.askamanager.org/2012/01/can-an-employer-require-you-to-keep-your-salary-confidential.html

So now you know what you should be paid. Go ask for it!

Money is a Funny Word

2.  Now lets talk about the words “greedy” and “pushy”.  In her book “Earn What Your Worth”, Nicole Williams lists the following words to determine how you feel about money. Then, of course, the rest of the book she tries to convince you that money is not a dirty word.

So, what do you think about these words?  Smart, strong, attractive, weak, greedy, efficient powerful, cutthroat, spoiled, innovative, deserving, cruel, self-centered, peaceful, selfish, generous, inspiring, ugly, disciplined, desirable.

Do these words describe how you feel about money and the people who have it? If so, lets do a little mindset shift shall we? Money is your friend. It is an indication of positive flow of energy in your life. It is the method through which you can fully show up and give your greatest gifts. Always being worried about where you next meal is going to come, or how you are going to pay for your child to play on the soccer team next season is not going to help you live your best life. You deserve it.

I am an advocate for strong pay equity laws in my state of Minnesota.  As result of our laws, women are sometimes given raises, the result of mandatory pay equity audits. These audits reveal that women are sometimes underpaid, according to their skill and responsibility levels. However, because these raises are very public (http://brainerddispatch.com/news/2011-01-25/equity-law-leads-pay-raise) there is often a sense of guilt that accompanies them possibly because they think they are taking away money from taxpayers. A very limiting view of money indeed.

Your Best Advocate

3. Think like an advocate. I am an advocate for fair pay for the public at large.  You are an advocate for yourself.  No one is going to negotiate a better salary for you than you. Unless you work in a unionized workplace, which is rare these days, you’re going to have to step up! Your boss or the human resource professionals at your company have been trained about compensation and benefits and many of them have graduate degrees on the subject. You must too. Know what your family’s needs are today and in the future. College expenses, increased car insurance once your teen starts driving, sports programs, retirement. Determine what you want and ask for it.

Your turn! Have you asked for raise at any time in your career? How did it go?

Posted in Career Advancement, Equal Pay, Financial Security, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women Veterans Speak Out: Each one, reach one: Helping homeless veterans

Posted by Joan Grey on April 16, 2012

Read the latest article in BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces feature that brings us the voices of women veterans telling their stories.

I’ve been part of a spirituality group since I moved to Virginia two years ago.  At one session, I proclaimed to the group that I was interested in social change but not inclined to open my house to a homeless person. Within the year, I had a chance to eat those words.

One of the group members sent an email asking if anyone had space for a woman who was living in her car.  We had a spare room, which is how I met Lynn.  She was a former military spouse who worked as a contractor but lost her source of income when her contract was cancelled.  So Lynn and then her cat (who was evicted from a foster home) came to live with us for four months. During the time she was with us, I introduced Lynn to a college friend, Mary, who provided an insider referral to Mary’s company. Lynn was hired and works for the company to this day.

No matter what your age, educational credentials, or even security clearance (important for employment in DC), many people don’t have the financial cushion to deal with emergencies or loss of income. When you aren’t sure where you’re going to spend the night, it’s hard to focus on much else. Veterans seem to be facing homelessness at a higher rate than the US population at large and women veterans are experiencing an even harder time finding secure housing.

There is no single reason why homelessness is more of an issue for veterans. It may be that they have no family safety net. Many young adults end up living with their parents after they college or if they find themselves between jobs.  According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, homelessness results when individuals cannot resolve life’s basic issues without assistance. Generally, these problems fall into three categories: health issues, economic hardships, and lack of affordable housing.

While BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ is focused on helping with career transitions and advancement for women veterans and military spouses, our mentors are aware that you can’t concentrate on revising your resume when you are sleeping in your car.  In developing Mentoring Plus, we are linking with organizations that help house and outfit women veterans.  Since launching the program in January, we have been affililiating with resource and community partners who can help veterans. Some DC-based Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ partners include Final Salute and Women Veterans Interactive (WVI).  As WVI CEO, Ginger Miller, said, “Our goal is to serve the whole women veteran by meeting her at her point of need.”

The core competency of BPW Foundation is Working•Women•Helping•Women•Work, not homelessness, but we have connections with partners who have special expertise in a variety of areas including housing. Some resources for homeless vets in the DC metro area include: Doorways for Women and Families: http://www.doorwaysva.org/, New Hope Housing: http://www.newhopehousing.org/?page_id=163, and Northern Virginia Family Service: http://www.nvfs.org/ .

While the government provides a safety net for when things go wrong, each of us has the ability to be of service. We are not asking you to open your house, but to reach out a hand. How can you help? Give back to those who have given much. Consider sharing your expertise by becoming a mentor to a woman veteran or military spouse.  BPW’s Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ program provides training and tools to help you be a successful mentor.  Check out the Mentoring Plus website and sign up. http://www.joiningforcesmentoringplus.org/ Also, connect with us on social media: BPW Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ LinkedIn. Join us on Facebook. Follow BPW on Twitter.

We can’t do everything, but we can do something. What will you do today?

Posted in Families, Financial Security, Homelessness, Joining Forces, mature workers, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Unemployment Insurance, Good for People, Good for the Country

Posted by sherrysaunders on December 8, 2011

By Sherry Saunders, Director of Communications
Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

I think we all were heartened by the news in November that while 13 million Americans remain out of work, the overall unemployment rate decreased from 9.9 percent to 8.6 percent.  But we also learned that while the rate of unemployment improved, the duration of time out of work increased.  More workers stopped actively looking for work and dropped out of the labor force than gained jobs during the last month. In addition over 5.6 million Americans have been looking for work for six months or more. For women age 20 and over the average was 42.1 weeks. For women age 55 or over, it was 54.8 weeks.

Looking more closely at the women behind those numbers, we find that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Women’s Law Center, the unemployment rate for single mothers was 12.4 percent, up from 12.3 percent in October 2011 and 11.7 percent in June 2009. And African-American women’s unemployment rate in November was12.9 percent, up from 12.6 percent in October 2011 and 11.7 percent in June 2009.   In addition, among women age 20 or over, 5.1 million were officially unemployed and another 2.8 million were not in the labor force but wanted work.

A glimmer of good news was found in the over all veteran unemployment rates which fell in November to 7.4 percent yet remained unacceptably high, 11.1 percent, for those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan era.  For men who separated since 2001, the unemployment rate fell from 12.3 percent in October to 10 percent in November. But for their female counterparts the unemployment rate shot up to 18.7 percent from 10.9 percent in October, possibly attributed to smaller population sampling size.

The measure of who we are is what we do about these numbers that are in fact real people with real families to support. As a nation we have provided long-term jobless workers federal emergency unemployment insurance benefits, which supplement state unemployment insurance, which generally lasts only 26 weeks or less. In previous recessions, Congress always extended these benefits whenever unemployment reached higher than 7.2 percent.  But even though unemployment is expected to remain above 8.0 percent through 2012, Congress continues to bicker about extending these programs even though they will expire at the end of December leaving these real people with no money for food and other essentials. Quite a Christmas present.

If Congress doesn’t act by December 31, nearly 2 million people will lose their benefits in January alone. Millions more will lose this critical lifeline in the near future – over 6 million during 2012 if Congress continues to ignore the plight of their fellow Americans.

We also need to remember that unemployment insurance isn’t just essential for families struggling to make ends meet; it is also good for our economy. The long term unemployed are not in a position to save or invest their unemployment dollars; they need to spend them right away on food, clothing, rent, mortgages, transportation and the like. Studies done by the Urban Institute and others have show that every dollar spent on employment insurance stimulates 2 dollars in growth in the U.S. economy. Since Congress claims that jobs are high on their agenda, they need to recognize that not extending unemployment insurance will take dollars out of our already fragile economy and result in even larger future job losses.

So for both compassionate and pragmatic reasons, I urge Congress to step up and do its job.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.  Read other posts

Women and the Unemployment Crisis, National Association of Social Workers
Action Alert: Tell Congress to Extend Unemployment Insurance
November’s Drop in Unemployment News Leaves Vulnerable Groups Behind, National Women’s Law Center
“No Christmas for Congress” Unless UI is Extended, National Women’s Law Center
Happy Holidays, Congress! It’s Time to Extend UI, National Women’s Law Center
The Pathways Back to Work Act: A Must-Pass Piece of Legislation for Women, National Women’s Law Center
Congress Should Act to Extend Unemployment Insurance, AAUW
I Am ‘Occupying’ D.C. for My Children and Future Generations– Linda Evans
When My Husband Faced Unemployment– Karoline, Mom’s Rising
Unemployment Insurance is the LEAST We Can Offer Working Families- Elisanta “Lisa” Batista
Without Unemployment Insurance, My Family Would Have To Choose Which Bills to Pay– Teresa “Tigger” Rey, Mom’s Rising
Good Education. Good experience. Still Unemployed– Theresa Witt
Holiday Fear– Christy Jones, AAUW
Navigating Unemployment– Jen, Mom’s Rising
Women, the Economy, and Unemployment Insurance– Angel Savoy, Metro DC Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women
Surviving a Corporate War on the Middle Class– Verlene Jones, Seattle Washington, Coalition of Labor Union Women
Extend Unemployment Benefits, But Don’t Stop There- Lindsay Beyerstein, Ms. Magazine Blog
Latinas Call on Congress to Extend Unemployment Insurance Set to Expire Dec. 31, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Congress must protect the lifeline women and families depend on, National Partnership for Women and Families

Posted in Economy, Financial Security, HERvotes, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Women’s News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on September 9, 2011

Successful Workplaces for Women, Families and Business

Surprising attitudes about how working mothers feel about their jobs [Forbes]

Survey finds men happier than women with their work-life balance [mediawebsite]

Chicago implements maternity leave policy; tightens vacation policy [Daily Journal]

The benefit of treating employees better [Moms Rising]

Empowered Workforce

Women helping women get back to school and improve their lives [The Union]

Jobs Needed

Women’s work is critical to job recovery [Women’s e News]

What’s good for women is good for the nation: jobs, livable wages, fair pay [Huffington Post]

Seeking Equity

What Carol Bartz, Sallie Krawcheck Gave Up on their way to the top [Wall Street Journal]

Women on Wall Street: small group gets smaller [Los Angeles Times]

Gender imbalance on Wall Street grows [New York Times]

Was sexism involved in Yahoo’s Carol Bartz’s firing? [Forbes]

Tech gender pay gap cut [Forbes]

Minding the gender gap [Washington Post]

Woman fights for equality in federal workplace [Greater Diversity]

The shocking contempt for rights for women:  Responses to last week’s LA Times Article “Beyond Suffrage” [Los Angeles Times]

Why it pays to invest with other women [Huffington Post]

Saluting Misbehavin’ Women

Female fighter pilot remembers scramble on 9/11 [ABC Local]

Way to break the glass ceiling: From secretary to CEO: Beth Mooney of Keycorp [Forbes]

Female daredevil pilot and “fastest women on earth” dies at 85 [Washington Post]


The silent battle for military women; sexual assault [Philly On line]

Military Moms: How war affects families [NPR]

VA responding to needs for women veterans [Pittsburgh Tribune]

Order of the Purple Heart honoring military nurses at Women’s Memorial [MarketWatch]

Body armor isn’t made to fit female troops [Seattle Times]

Jobless rate still high among young women vets [Army Times]

Woman Marine writes book on combat experiences [San Diego Union]

Important Odds and Ends

Women, men and crying – get over it [Female Equality Matters]

London professor says women should use sex appeal to get ahead – this should get a discussion going [Business Insider]

Posted in Financial Security, Military, Successful Workplaces, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women’s News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by YWM on August 19, 2011

Successful Workplaces

President issues order to increase federal government hiring of women and minorities [Washington Post]

OPM issues memo on dealing with federal government pay gap [Washington Post]

For working mothers, big law remains a tough nut to crack [Wall Street Journal]

Being a nice guy or gal doesn’t pay [Wall Street Journal]

Empowered Workers

PEW study: women see more value and benefits in college education than men [PEW Social Trends]

Does our culture of individualism hurt working mothers and their careers? [The Glass Hammer]

Bloomberg pregnancy discrimination suit renews work-life debate [New York Times]

Career Networking benefits men not women [Business News Daily]

What working moms want [The Glass Hammer]

Globally women say they are very ambitious, most more than double US’s stat of 36% [HBR]

Women have come a long way but not far enough [Fresno Bee]

The Challenges of child care and impact on families [NPR]

Saluting Misbehavin’ Women

Top 25 female athletes [Fem 2.0]

African American veteran combat pilot inspiring others [ABC Local]

Army’s single mom drill sergeants face challenges [Google News]

Adventure, equality draw women to Coast Guard [NPR]

Small Business

Why are women business owners hesitant to raise their debt ceiling? [Business Insider]


Boomer women get the retirement shaft [OC Register]]

Not all Social Security checks are created equal.  Women, money and retirement [Forbes]

Women and Non Traditional Careers

Summer camp introduces girls to manufacturing [New York Times]

Cokie and Steve Roberts: Girls needed to solve US scientist shortage [Billings Gazette]

When romance is brewing, women lose interest in STEM studies?!  [Inside Higher Ed]

Women Veterans

Time Magazine’s cover this week celebrates the New Greatest Generation: How Young War Veterans Are Defining Leadership at Home [Time]

Rise in homelessness for women vets tied to sexual abuse [Huffington Post]

Editorial: female veterans hidden among the homeless [Fayetteville Observer]

Women Veteran’s health research; a new frontier [Veterans Today]

New challenges face health care system treating women vets [Patch]

Odds and Ends

The constitutionality of equality for women (not!) [Marquette]

Advancing the lives of young women through mentoring [White House Blog]

Man will continue crusade against “ladies” nights [Las Vegas Sun]

Posted in Financial Security, Link Love, STEM, Successful Workplaces, Woman Misbehavin' | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Social Security Must Be Protected

Posted by egehl on July 22, 2011

The word “budget” seems to be on everyone’s mind these days, especially in the halls of Congress.

Every day there are new twists and turns to the never-ending budget and debt ceiling debacle.   The debt crisis our country faces will impact each of us as Congress makes decision to slash trillions of dollars away from vital programs and services that impact every facet of our society.  In order to address the looming federal deficit, legislators have proposed cutting social safety net programs to reduce spending. 

Programs big and small are on the chopping block, however the bigger ones such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are the big goliaths that everyone is afraid of touching, but know it has to be done.  The problem is that if poor decisions are made about these important programs now it could be devastating for years to come, especially for women.

Various proposals are swirling around, and many could be quite scary for our seniors.  For example, Social Security benefits could be deeply cut by increasing the full retirement age above 67, possibly to 70, and reducing the Cost-of-living Adjustment (COLA) by switching to the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Unfortunately using the “chained CPI” would cut benefits for everyone immediately and would cumulate over time, so that those who live the longest would suffer the deepest cuts.

Social Security is essential for older women’s economic well-being.  Women disproportionately depend on Social Security because their life expectancy is five years longer than men, they rely more on survivor benefits, they are less likely than men to have income from their own pensions, and because women have lower earnings on average across their lifetime they benefit from Social Security’s generous benefits to lower earners.

Women who are most economically vulnerable, including those with disabilities, live alone or have limited means, face the greatest risk as a result of these proposed cuts.  They face hurdles to gain financial stability on their own because many women cannot find employment at older ages, do not have pensions, and have been unable to save sufficiently because of wage discrimination and time taken out of the paid workforce for care-giving.

The National Council of Women’s Organizations has launched a new initiative to call on Congress to RESPECT women, PROTECT Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and REJECT any budget plans that threaten the economic security of women.  The goal of this campaign is to get the message across to key lawmakers that budget decisions should not be made at the expense of vulnerable women.

My mother is a perfect example of the critical need for Social Security.  I distinctly remember when she turned 65, a year after she was widowed and two months after Hurricane Katrina devastated my hometown, and she lost her job because of the storm.  She and I repeatedly said how thankful and lucky we were that the timing of her birthday coincided with that hard year otherwise the devastation to our home, on top of her job loss, could have put my family in financial straits.  I can’t imagine what we would have done if we had to wait another 5 years until she turned 70 for her to begin receiving benefits.

My mother stayed at home while I was growing up and didn’t starting working full-time until I was in highschool, and never made a great salary.  Therefore her Social Security benefits were fairly dismal and she was thankful she could receive my father’s benefits.  Over the past 6 years Social Security has been at the heart of my mother’s income and given her the means to stay in the home I grew up in, and have the modest lifestyle she wants and deserves.  Therefore I have seen firsthand how Social Security is truly a lifesaving foundation for older woman, and must be protected.

The reality is that our country needs to tighten its belt.  And all of us will have to make some level of sacrifice to make that happen.  However there are common sense ways to accomplish these goals without causing undue detriment to our citizens susceptible to hardship.  I just hope our leaders heed that warning.

Posted in Advocacy, Baby Boomers, Economy, Financial Security, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Comparable Worth Noting!

Posted by ptanji on February 3, 2011

Here in the great state of Minnesota, land of the free, the brave, and the frozen  — we have a little known law called the Local Government Pay Equity Act (LGPEA).  Passed in 1984 — its purpose is to address gender pay bias in local units of governments.  Cities, counties, schools, soil and water boards, park and recreation boards etc. must produce a pay equity report for the Minnesota Management and Budget office once every three years.  The process has been perfected and automated over the last two and half decades so that in many cases it takes about 1-2 hours to compile a report.  The LGPEA continues to be controversial because some folks can’t stand the fact that women get raises as a result of pay equity statistical analysis.  Every single year — without exception — women get pay boosts because pay bias is alive and well.

Minnesota’s LGPEA determines a jobs value based on know-how, problem solving, accountability, and working conditions – gender neutral criteria determined by the state.  If local governments don’t like the state’s criteria for work values they can come up with their own.  Once point values are determined, pay is apportioned accordingly.

Here’s an example of the law in action.  This year, as a result of pay analysis, a human resource coordinator, in the town of Brainerd Minnesota, population 13,770 with a payroll of over 7 million dollars,  got a $5000 pay increase.  Opponents of the law throughout the state say the law is costly and outdated.  But in the City of Brainerd’s case it cost them %.07 of payroll to be in compliance with the law.  And,  consistent findings of local governments with patterns of paying women less than men for jobs of similar point value prove the Local Government Pay Equity Act is neither costly or untimely.  In fact, with a wage gap between men and women in Minnesota hovering around $.77 — its time for the private sector to take a look at what the public sector is doing.  Ooooooooo I like the sound of that.

Posted in Economy, Financial Security, Successful Workplaces | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Obama on the Senate’s Failure to Further the Paycheck Fairness Act

Posted by gansie on November 17, 2010

From the White House


November 17, 2010

Statement by the President on the Paycheck Fairness Act

I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote.  This bill passed in the House almost two years ago; today, it had 58 votes to move forward, the support of the majority of Senate, and the support of the majority of Americans.  As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, this bill would ensure that American women and their families aren’t bringing home smaller paychecks because of discrimination.  It also helps businesses that pay equal wages as they struggle to compete against discriminatory competition.  But a partisan minority of Senators blocked this commonsense law.  Despite today’s vote, my Administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work.



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