Work-Life Balance: Join the National Conversation
On June 23, 2014, President Barack Obama will convene the White House Summit on Working Families here in Washington, D.C., to focus on modernizing workplace policies for America’s future economic success. AAUW will be in attendance, calling for long-overdue updates to our nation’s workplace policies.
As economic opportunities for women have increased, not all of our laws have kept up — wage discrimination persists, and most employees still lack caregiving or sick leave. As Obama noted in his 2014 State of the Union address, our policies are stuck in the Mad Men era. The summit will concentrate the national conversation on equal pay, workplace discrimination, paid leave, paid sick days, and caregiving challenges.
We’ve been promoting positive work-life-balance policies for decades, visiting the Hill and sharing personal stories with legislators. However, further advocacy efforts to update the 20-year-old Family and Medical Leave Act have been unsuccessful. Legislation such as the FAMILY Act, Healthy Families Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act — which together would address the lack of paid leave, the lack of paid sick days, and wage discrimination — are stuck in Congress. We need your support and advocacy to make sure women have a voice to speak on the daily challenges of balancing work and family obligations. Here’s how you can get involved in the White House summit and help working families.
1. Find a listening session near you.
In preparation for the White House summit, the Department of Labor will host listening sessions in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Boston. These sessions, which are open to the public, will be held throughout April and May. If you’re nearby, we encourage you to think about attending one.
2. Read up on the legislation.
Before the event, familiarize yourself with AAUW resources such as our one-pagers on work-life balance, paid sick days, and the gender pay gap. The gender wage gap exists in all 50 states; do you know the gap in your state? If not, check out our report. You can also read a refresher on the Family and Medical Leave Act and understand why the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) is a necessary update. If you are interested in recent AAUW advocacy efforts on the Paycheck Fairness Act, check out our letters to Congress.
3. Get some materials and then tell us how it went!
After you sign up for a Department of Labor summit in your area, remember to request materials you can take with you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Take plenty of pictures at the event and e-mail them to Liz Owens at email@example.com so we can share them on AAUW’s Facebook or Instagram account.
This post was written by AAUW Public Policy intern Ashlyn Holeyfield.