Five simple solutions to reward work, improve our economy and empower women
Over the last decade, while the definition of the American Dream hasn’t shifted, the opportunity to achieve it has. Income inequality is at a record high, college affordability is slipping away, and seniors are working longer for less. Contrary to the traditional American value of rewarding work, we have seen a significant decline in the purchasing power of the average worker’s paychecks relative to previous generations. Families are falling further and further behind, and the reality is both parents need to work to pay the bills.
We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of our workforce with the dramatic increased participation of women, but the rules governing this new 21st Century reality have largely stayed the same. For instance, today, women make up roughly 50% of the workforce, and families rely on women as sole breadwinners more than ever before. Yet Congress has not kept up and updated the rules that govern our economy to reflect the changing reality of the workforce and the needs of our families. If our economy is going to thrive in the 21st Century, every woman must have the tools and opportunities to be given a fair shot of remaining in the workforce and achieving her full economic potential, contributing to her families’ financial security. That means:
Most of these commonsense solutions are not a part of the political conversation — but they should be, and with your help, they will be.
Just look at the statistics
- Women continue to make just 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn, even less if you are African American or Latina. How can two-income families and sole female breadwinning households get ahead when they are getting shortchanged?
- Without a full-time parent caretaker, families with children under the age of 5 now must spend an average of 10.1 percent of their household budget on child-care. How can you keep earning a paycheck for your family when you can’t afford the child-care needed to get to work?
- Women represent 64% of minimum wage workers whose purchasing power adjusted for inflation is at a historic low. How can you move into the middle class when a full-time hardworking mother of two is living thousands of dollars below the poverty line?
- American women are earning more than half of all college degrees and advanced degrees in this country. How can America out-build, out-educate and out-innovate the global competition if American women aren’t empowered to thrive in this new economy?
- What is needed to rebuild our economy, reward Americans working full time and put our businesses on equal footing with global competitors is for our policies to catch up to today’s American families. One common sense place to start is by modernizing the American workplace for women with policies that reflect our values, that treat women equally, and allow them to earn their full economic potential.