Today, more and more women are the primary breadwinners and financial decision-makers in their households. Working women embrace these new roles as progress. It’s time for our public policies and workplaces to catch-up.
The AFL-CIO is uniquely positioned to lead on leveling the playing field for women. This is why it has committed to Equal Pay, Equal Say, an economic issue advocacy and political mobilization initiative for working women.
Women must have equal pay. Despite their financial leadership, women overall still earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. For women of color, the gap is even larger when compared to the average wages of white men. Only when women get a raise can working families thrive.
Women must have an equal say. Women make up nearly half of the American workforce and must have fair representation—in their workplaces, in their unions and in politics. Women need a greater say in the laws that impact their lives and demand equal pay for equal work, fair scheduling, paid sick leave, paid family leave and quality child care. Women must become the lawmakers who champion working families and set the nation's economic policy.
More than 6.8 million women in the United States are part of a union. Our mission at the AFL-CIO is to give each one a voice on the job, in the economy and throughout our democracy. In the fall of 2015, we launched a comprehensive survey to better understand the experiences and aspirations of working women to guide the AFL-CIO working women’s policy agenda and political action plans. Nearly 25,000 working women responded in just six weeks.
The National Survey of Working Women is more than just a job assessment. It zeroes in on how working women spend time at home, tackle financial challenges and engage in our communities. The results paint a clear picture of the economy and society working women are committed to building: where equal pay, paid leave and fair scheduling are the law of the land.
We received so much information about working women’s priorities, day-to-day experiences, challenges, aspirations and commitments that we decided to release our findings in a series of short reports over the next few months. The first issue brief presents a snapshot of our entire sample: the economic conditions working women face, key issues and what drives us to action. Later briefs will examine young women, mothers, women of color and other topics that provide a further window into our experiences.