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Happy 50th Birthday, Equal Pay Act!

June 10, 2013
By Lenora M. Lapidus, Women's Rights Project, ACLU Today is the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act . On June 10, 1963, Congress enacted the first law to require employers to pay women the same salaries that they pay men. When the law was enacted, I was not quite one month old. Equal Pay Today! My mother fought for passage of the EPA. She brought me, her newborn baby, to a march on Washington to demand equal pay for women. My childhood was permeated with debates about "Women's Lib." Although she, like my father, was a university professor, prior to passage of the EPA, Columbia University...
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Pay Gap Deniers

June 5, 2013
Steve Tobak, a Silicon Valley consultant, reassured his Fox Business audience that “ The Gender Pay Gap is a Myth ,” recycling a 2009 report commissioned by the Bush Department of Labor arguing that women’s choices, not discrimination, account for the wage gap between men and women. Next week is the anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act . Is it time to declare victory? The standard pay gap measure, which greatly exaggerates women’s economic equality , is that women now earn 77 cents for each dollar earned by men. Maybe so, argue Pay Gap Deniers, but that’s due to women’s choices,...
Joan C. Williams's picture

A Victory for Workers, a Victory for Families

June 5, 2013
By Mie Lewis, Staff Attorney for the ACLU Women’s Rights Project This week, an Ohio federal jury awarded Christa Dias $171,000 after she was fired from her part-time teaching jobs at two religious schools. Dias had alleged that she was fired for becoming pregnant while unmarried. In response, the schools and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had claimed that her use of artificial insemination violated Catholic religious tenets and was a valid reason for firing her. In its verdict, the jury specifically found that Dias was the victim of pregnancy discrimination. The verdict is an important victory...
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Why Men Work So Many Hours

June 4, 2013
How many employed American mothers work more than 50 hours a week? Go on, guess. I've been asking lots of people that question lately. Most guess around 50 percent. The truth is nine percent. Nine percent of working moms clock more than 50 hours a week during the key years of career advancement: ages 25 to 44. If we limit the sample to mothers with at least a college degree, the number rises only slightly, to 13.9 percent. (These statistics came from special tabulations of data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey .) This "long hours problem," analyzed so insightfully...
Joan C. Williams's picture

Breastfeeding IS a Civil Right!

June 1, 2013
Being a new mother is not easy and getting breastfeeding off to a good start is a small – no, make that a HUGE miracle! Add the stress of losing your job because you tried to give your baby the best start in life? I can’t even imagine it. Breastfeeding became a protected Civil Right in California last year when Gov. Brown signed AB 2386, which amended our Fair Employment and Housing Act , to include a woman’s breastfeeding status. However, for years women in the US have been at risk of losing their job, because of a series of Federal Cases, in which the old patriarchy selectively sided with...
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“We Don’t Pay You to Pee” and Other Reasons Why We Need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

May 14, 2013
By Liz Watson and Cortelyou Kenney , National Women's Law Center Cross-Posted from NWLC's blog Amanda Roller was a call center employee in Kansas. After Amanda became pregnant she started experiencing morning sickness. Amanda’s supervisor repeatedly refused her requests to go the bathroom and instead told her that she would get Amanda a larger trash can so that she could vomit at her desk. Amanda asked again, and her supervisor again denied her request, saying, “We don’t pay you to pee.” Amanda was then demoted and eventually fired. Unfortunately, Amanda is not alone. Across the country ,...
Liz Watson's picture

What to Give a Working Mother for Mother’s Day

May 12, 2013
After a long week at work, and the weekend filled with two soccer games, a dance recital and a birthday party, I’ll drive 75 minutes to visit my mother this Mother’s Day. There’s no time for breakfast in bed, a manicure/pedicure with friends or dinner and a movie. That’s okay; that’s not what this working mother wanted for Mother’s Day anyway. You know what I do want for all working mothers? I want: Paid Sick Leave. Almost half (48 percent) of private-sector workers do not have paid sick days. As a working mother, it’s common sense that occasionally you’ll need time to care for yourself or...
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“Mothers Unite! Organizing for Workplace Flexibility and the Transformation of Family Life” by Jocelyn Elise Crowley

May 1, 2013
It is very loud in the second-floor meeting room of a public library in a medium-size eastern city, the noise coming from twelve toddlers, all under the age of four, running around the room. At this meeting of the local NAMC chapter, eleven group members have put their chairs in a circle in preparation for the upcoming discussion. Strollers line the wall, toys litter the floor, and the kids have discovered a new game consisting of how much trouble they can cause by turning the meeting room’s lights on and off. As the mothers struggle to intervene and maintain some order, the NAMC chapter...
Valerie Young's picture

Single Mothers, Double Standard

April 30, 2013
A lot of press about single mothers seemed to surface recently. I’m not sure why. It’s on my radio (NPR, Tell Me More ) and in my morning paper ( The Difference Between Feeling Like a Single Mom and Being One , WashPost, 4/18,2013). Whatever it used to mean, as an identifier “single mother” it is not very helpful now. As almost half of all births now occur to unmarried women, and most of them in their 20′s at the age of first birth, it isn’t shorthand for teen mother or one with minimal education. Single mothers may have been married at the time of birth, widowed, divorced or separated. They...
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Useless Baggage

April 28, 2013
They’ve hit a new low. Citing significant concerns about long lines at airports and flight delays caused by the furlough of air-traffic controllers, Congress is allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to override strict sequestration rules and re-direct funds within its budget. And they did so with lightning speed. With their big fuss over aviation punctuality, lawmakers make it clear that they're not feeling the pain felt by the majority of Americans. Their message: In the United States it’s fine to wait — and face a steep climb — for housing, health care, cancer treatment, a pre-school...
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