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Idea of the Day: How We Can Support Working Women

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Today’s families are increasingly reliant upon working mothers as breadwinners or co-breadwinners. (see Figure 1) The past four decades have brought about dramatic changes in how women—and men—navigate their workplace responsibilities, caregiving needs, and personal lives. Four in five U.S. families with children are headed by either two working parents or a single working parent, and thus most families have to navigate issues such as costly or inadequate child care, a lack of paid family leave, and the persistent wage gap, just to name a few.

While social and economic changes created this new reality, political decisions have shaped the struggles so many families now face. All working women deserve a fair day’s pay, but they also need to have time to actually live their lives and do what is important to them without fear of losing their jobs or ruining their careers. Our nation’s lawmakers, however, have failed to craft public policies that effectively address today’s challenges and make this possible. Working women are especially disadvantaged by the lack of policy solutions, in part because they continue to take on a larger share of the family caretaking responsibilities—for both the young and elderly members of their families—and because the hurdles they face in the workplace and at home, such as those outlined below, only compound over time, setting them back economically in ever-worsening ways over the course of their lifetimes.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here