Maria Shriver is doing more than violating her state’s ban on cell phone use while driving these days. Perhaps her ambitious project is in part what compels her need to multi-task in the car (but please invest in a hands-free device, Maria, so the press can focus on your other admirable pursuits!).
As reported on Sloan’s Work and Family Network Blog, this week you will likely hear quite a bit in the media about a report being published by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress called A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. The goal of this undertaking has been to provide an in-depth look at the status of women in America from a number of different perspectives and across a wide range of sectors – healthcare, higher education, law, public service, policy, etc.
The report notes that while women constitute 57% of new college graduates, and while women have made great strides in the workplace, they still contribute twice the number of hours to dependent care and domestic tasks as men do. This disconnect means that—like it or not—employers will need to take steps to allow accommodate work-family issues to allow women (and other caregivers) to succeed in the workplace. It’s not just altruism that mandates this, it’s the employer’s bottom line.
Although there is proposed legislation to address some of the concerns (including paid sick leave), currently such measures are left largely to the employer. Although the report is ambitious and contains admirable goals, now is a tough time to pursue them. As we’ve discussed here before, the current attitude (although misguided) among many employers is that employees are lucky to have jobs and the last thing they feel compelled to discuss is “work-life” issues that may allow their employees to better juggle their demands outside of work. Nevertheless, as women continue to grow in number and rank in the workplace, this issue is here to stay.