Moms Deserve Economic Security, Not Just FlowersMay 11, 2012
As Americans prepare for Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s time to think about how we can help moms better provide for themselves and their families. The economic health of most American families is dependent on working mothers, with 70 million women working outside the home. It’s critical that these moms have access to equal pay for equal work, equitable employment opportunities, and robust retirement security. AAUW works to promote these policies so that all moms can enjoy peace of mind and economic security.
One way to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work is to urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill would update the 49-year-old Equal Pay Act and help close the wage gap by improving enforcement, closing loopholes, strengthening remedies for mistreated workers, and prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages. By passing this act, we can help all women move toward equal pay for equal work.
Another step we can take for moms is to encourage Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to protect the health of pregnant workers, such as letting them carry bottles of water or take restroom breaks. This legislation clarifies that it is unlawful to discriminate against pregnant workers by forcing them out of their jobs unnecessarily or by denying them reasonable accommodations that would allow them to keep working and providing for their families.
We can also protect moms by ensuring that they’re secure when they get older. Women are more likely to suffer financial insecurity in their later years for many reasons. They earn less than men do even when they work in the same position (which is why we need the Paycheck Fairness Act), and many women work in jobs that pay less than traditionally “male” jobs do. Women also do not spend as much time in the workforce as men do, because more women than men take time off work to raise children, and women live longer than men on average and need more resources to support a longer lifespan.
AAUW is working to make sure that the voices of all women are heard. AAUW’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign is making an unprecedented investment in turning out women voters. AAUW is educating, engaging, and registering millennial women voters across the country. Together, we’ll ensure that women understand what’s at stake in 2012 and know how to use their voices and their votes to influence the election!