Ann O’Leary, Sarah Jane Glynn and I have updated our policy agenda for how to create economic security for today’s families:
In October 2009 the Center for American Progress teamed up with then-First Lady of California Maria Shriver to release The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. A Woman’s Nation provided a comprehensive look at how our social institutions—from government to businesses to faith-based institutions—had responded to women’s entry into the workforce at a time when women had just become half of the workers in the United States. Following on the heels of that report, in early 2010 the Center for American Progress released “Our Working Nation: How Working Women Are Reshaping America’s Families and Economy and What It Means for Policymakers,” which provided a road map for policymakers to address the outdated and antiquated ways in which our government and our employers treat workers.
Since the release of our report, President Barack Obama and his administration have successfully used the bully pulpit to bring attention to the need for greater workplace flexibility. The president and first lady hosted a White House Flexibility Forum in March 2010, releasing a Council of Economic Advisers report on the economics of workplace flexibility. The Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor, together with the White House Council on Women and Girls, followed up by hosting regional forums across the country as part of a “National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility.” And the Senate also used its megaphone by hosting a hearing on the issue of how to help the middle class balance work and family. But apart from raising awareness and framing the issue, there has been no action at the national level to update basic labor standards or improve workplace fairness through legislative or administrative policies that would better support workers who are responsible for both earning the family income and providing care to family members.
That is why as President Obama enters his second term and as the 113th Congress convenes—with historic numbers of women members—we have decided to re-release “Our Working Nation.” It is a road map of how we can update our workplace policies to fully include women and men who combine work with family care. We have updated the report with new data and a fresh look at how these changes can be made.