Women's Economic Empowerment
The best way to ensure true financial security for middle class families is to support women in the workforce. Working women make up almost half of the American labor force and serve as primary breadwinners in over 40 percent of American households. In addition, a growing percentage of women are single mothers; more than half of women under 30 who give birth do so outside of marriage and consequently serve a significant economic role for that child. Yet women still have no guarantee of equal pay for equal work. We must declare this era in American life as the past, not the present.
Women must be able to make their own economic decisions, including whether and when to have children, and then have the capacity to balance work and family. This delicate equilibrium is possible only with affordable child care, workplace flexibility, and paid family and medical leave, as well as reliable health care. President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act over two decades ago, finally giving workers a guarantee of unpaid leave. Today, the United States is one of only two nations that does not guarantee paid parental leave. It is past time to giving working women and families this critical tool.