National Partnership for Women & Families

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From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

Advancing Women and Families in 2014

Following President Obama’s historic call for paid family and medical leave in the State of the Union address, attention to family friendly policies is high. Last week, nearly 16,000 people joined a national telephone town hall to discuss the need for a women’s economic agenda that advances economic security for women and families. The call focused on three core pillars of that agenda: paid family and medical leave, fair pay and child care.

The unprecedented event – “Let’s Talk About It: Advancing Women and Families in 2014” – featured House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – Calif.), Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D – Conn.) and Donna Edwards (D – Md.), fair pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter, actor Cynthia Nixon and women nationwide sharing their experiences. Colorado mother Shelby Ramirez made a compelling call for paid leave. Shelby took unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when her daughter needed surgery at the same time that Shelby’s father needed care for a serious medical problem. It took her family four months to recover financially and catch up on bills.

The National Partnership proudly co-hosted the event, along with more than 60 of our allies.* It took place on the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and just 24 hours after President Obama made the powerful call for fair pay, paid sick days and paid family and medical leave in his State of the Union address. The hour-long call was an engaging and inspiring event.

As Representative DeLauro said afterward: “Cities and states nationwide are passing laws that promote family friendly policies such as paid sick days and paid family leave. Business leaders and elected officials alike know these policies are not only good for workers, but also for businesses who have lower retention costs and greater productivity, as well as the broader economy. Congressional leaders need to recognize this and pass the Healthy Families Act and FAMILY Act to ensure not just that women succeed, but America succeeds.”

This is a historic moment and a turning point in generating attention to the women’s economic agenda. We look forward to continuing the momentum and making progress toward the fair and family friendly policies the country urgently needs.

You can listen to a recording of the national “Let’s Talk About It: Advancing Women and Families in 2014” telephone town hall here.

* Co-hosts of the event included: 9to5, A Better Balance, AAUW, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign for Community Change, Caring Across Generations, Caring Economy Campaign, Center for Law and Social Policy, Center for Popular Democracy, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Crittenton Women’s Union, CT Women's Education and Legal Fund, Direct Care Alliance, Economic Opportunity Institute, Economic Policy Institute, Equal Pay Coalition NYC, Equal Rights Advocates, Family Equality Council, Family Forward Oregon, Family Values @ Work, Feminist Majority, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Healthy Tacoma, Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc., Interfaith Worker Justice, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Labor Project for Working Families, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, Maine Women’s Policy Center, MomsRising, Montana Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Association of Mothers' Centers, National Association of Social Workers, National Committee on Pay Equity, National Consumers League, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Action Fund, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, NC Families Care, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Time to Care Coalition, New York Paid Leave Coalition, Organizing for Action, OWL-The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, PathWays PA, Progressive States Network, Restaurant Opportunities Center, RESULTS, RI Women's Fund, Rockefeller Family Fund, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), TakeAction Minnesota, The Voter Participation Center, UltraViolet, USAction, Washington Work and Family Coalition, Women AdvaNCe, Women Employed, and Working Families.


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