Introducing Tools that Help us Value and Respect Women's Work
Working women are facing extraordinary challenges in the US today. But it’s not the same for everyone: from one state to the next, policies around wages, protections, and rights vary dramatically.
In “We Must Value and Respect Women’s Work,” published on Oxfam’s blog on September 26th, Dr. Kaitlyn Henderson, Senior Research Advisor for Oxfam America’s US Domestic Policy Program, and Seher Khawaja, Legal Momentum’s Senior Attorney for Economic Empowerment, detail the many ways in which women’s work is undervalued in our society and how the lack of national policies and protections for working women, especially those with dual caretaking roles, prevent women from reaching full equality within our economy.
Featured in the piece are two resources critical to advocating for more robust protections for working women: Legal Momentum’s Working Woman’s Bill of Rights and Oxfam’s Best States for Working Women Index.
This summer, Legal Momentum issued an updated version of the Working Woman’s Bill of Rights, which was originally published in 2018. The Bill of Rights sets forth a holistic roadmap for advocates, legislators, employers, and individuals to push for comprehensive legal reforms to advance women’s economic well-being, covering 12 cross-cutting areas. It includes specific legislative measures to address gaps in protection, including how to achieve more equitable wage protections and ways to support the most vulnerable workers.
Oxfam’s Best States for Working Women Index assesses and ranks how states treat women workers and working families across all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), focusing on policies that either directly or disproportionately impact women at work. It calls attention to how where a woman lives and works defines whether she will be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, and whether she can provide for a family.
Together, Oxfam’s Index and Legal Momentum’s Bill of Rights remind us that a woman’s economic wellbeing depends on core legal protections, which vary state by state.
As Henderson and Khawaja note, “In assessing geographic disparities, it’s essential that we recognize how laws that support women and families matter; we must act swiftly, as it’s never been more important than now to ensure that some of these basic legal protections are in place.”
Read the full article on Oxfam’s website here.