On Sunday, people around the country will be finding a way to show our fathers what an important role they play in our lives. So it's ironic that this week Congress missed a chance to show the American people that it understands that dads—and moms, too—deserve policies to help them meet work and family needs.
In 1963, the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits employers from paying women less than men for the same work, became law. A lot has changed in the workplace since then. But the Equal Pay Act is still pretty much the same as it was 47 years ago.
The kudos about the 50th anniversary of the FDA's approval of the birth control pill are well deserved. Timely access to contraceptive services has vastly improved maternal and child health, and has been the driving force in reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion in this country. Women's ability to control our fertility has helped us achieve personal, educational and professional goals and made us a critical component of the nation's success.
My mother has worked full-time in New York for most of her life. New data from the Center for American Progress shows that because of the wage gap between men and women, my mom lost out on $312,000 over her working life.
My two sisters and I are a team. For several years, as we each juggled our own work and family responsibilities, we willingly took on the role of "advocate" and "coordinator" of health care across settings (home, hospital, nursing home) for my father, who died last year at the age of 94. It wasn't easy. At times it sapped our energy and our spirits. But we took on the role out of love and a deep respect for our father.
"Can't you just use the bathroom?"
That's right. Health reform may officially be law, but now the hard work of fixing our health care system begins.
At night after the kids are in bed, most working couples have "kitchen table" talks. Who's going to meet with a teacher, or stay home with a sick child? Who can take mom to the doctor on Friday? Which bills can we pay this week?
Eight months of groceries. That is what the wage gap is costing women and their families. Don't believe it? Do the math.
Between President Obama issuing a new proposal on health insurance reform on Monday and the White House Health Care Summit Thursday, the beat marches on around this debate in Washington.
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