Common assumptions about mothers’ and caregivers’ responsibilities frequently affect their salary, raises, and job opportunities, and we are gratified that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, today in New Hampshire, made this and other work/life balance issues a central part of her campaign platform. According to many reports, some employers routinely make pay and promotion decisions about employees based on an assumption that caregiving responsibilities for children or elders will affect performance, even if that has not actually been the case (also known as maternal profiling).
“These assumptions are deeply engrained in stereotypes about women as caregivers, and they affect the pay and employment status of millions of women, and some men as well,” said NOW President Kim Gandy. “This is discrimination, pure and simple, and it contributes to the enormous wage gap between mothers and non-mothers.”
Clinton also committed to providing paid sick days for all workers, expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover an additional 13 million workers, and creating incentives for states to create paid leave programs. With specifics on how the cost of the programs would be covered, Clinton laid out a broad agenda that also included increased funding for child care and workplace flexibility initiatives.
“NOW was the first organization to pass a resolution supporting ‘Homemaker’s Bill of Rights’ in 1978, and to this day we fight for caregivers’ rights, but no presidential candidate has ever made such an effort to put families first,” said Gandy.