Friday, March 27, 2009

The Importance of Women and Work

"Over the next few days, Fem2.0 is working with MomsRising to start a fresh conversation about what should be considered "work" in the 21st Century economy, especially pertinent for women designing their own work patterns to accommodate their families. What is work? What kind of work has value?"

Here are our thoughts here at WOW

Work ought to be adequately and fairly compensated, regardless of where it’s performed, at home or in workplace, or the worker’s gender, woman or man. For over forty years, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) has led multiple efforts to assure women have quality jobs that pay dignified wages and provide benefits. By training women for nontraditional jobs and careers, such as skilled trades in construction and home repair, we can improve their standard of living through increased wages until equal pay is a reality. We are still in an age where women do equal work but do not receive equal pay. Whether being paid to for a skilled trade or caring for an aging parent, work needs to be compensated, through adequate wages, benefits and credited in retirement systems including Social Security, to assure women’s economic security over the life course.

By in large, women are still highly concentrated in low-wage industries and continue to shoulder a disproportionate share of the uncompensated caregiving to family members, but this does not mean that it is classified as “women’s work”. One important change that needs to occur is the framing of work that women often find themselves in. Instead of labeling what is and isn’t “women’s work” we should focus on both women and men as workers with familial responsibilities. The work both in and outside of the home contribute greatly to the overall societal good and, therefore, should be acknowledged and compensated fairly.

You can share your thoughts about women and work by posting on the Fem 2.0 Blog and by particpating in the Fem 2.0 Twittercast Sunday night, March 29, 10 PM EST -- hashtag #fem2. If you need it, review how to join a Twittercast here.