May was another action-packed month at Family Forward Oregon. If you weren’t able to join us in Salem for our first Mother’s Day of Action on the 8th, we hope you’ll take a moment to check out our online photo album. We had a great group of folks deliver a flower and a Mother’s Day card to all 90 state legislators (and the Governor!). Our message? We need smart policies for today’s families, not just the annual flower & card, thanks!
In this newsletter:
- June Events | Happy Hours in Eugene & Portland and a Public Hearing in Salem
- In Our Own Words | Let’s Work to End Maternal Poverty
- Legislative Progress | Equal Pay Bill Passes!
- Required Reading | Book-of-the-Month & Must-read Anne-Marie Slaughter article
- Quiz Yourself | How much do you know about workplace leave policies in the U.S.?
- Take Action | Are you on you state representatives’ email lists? You should be!
UPCOMING EVENTS | ACTIVISM & FUN
1 | Pack the Public Hearing for Statewide Paid Sick Days | June 5th
Join us in Salem for a 2nd hearing on the bill (HB 3390-2) we’re working hard on to bring paid sick time to all working Oregonians (not just Portlanders). There’s no doubt about it: a Capitol hearing room full of supporters sends a powerful message to legislators that people support a policy enough to be there in person.
- Who: Us, you, your neighbors and friends, your kids (wiggling, crying, and general kidlike behavior is 100% fine!), and anyone else who supports paid sick days!
- What: A hearing in the House Rules Committee to take testimony about a proposed statewide paid sick days policy
- When: This Wednesday, June 5th from 3 to 5 PM
- Where: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St, NE, Hearing Room F (here’s a map)
- On Facebook: Use our Facebook event to RSVP, spread the word, or invite friends
- Questions or RSVP? Email email@example.com or call us at 503.928.6789
2 | Unequal Pay = Unhappy Hour | Monday, June 10th
On June 10, 1963 President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. At that time, women earned $0.59 cents for every $1 a man earned — a $0.41 gender wage gap! Today, Oregon women earn $0.78 for every dollar a man earns — which means that it took 50 years to reduce the wage gap by $0.19. At that snail’s pace, we won’t be paid equally for another 45 years! And we’re not willing to wait.
Join us in Portland & Eugene for casual drinks talk with our elected leaders about modernizing the public policies that affect Oregon mothers every day.
- What: Happy Hour with Special Guests
- Why: June 10th is the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act (also, Why not?!)
- When: Monday, June 10th | 5 to 6:30 PM in Portland & 6 to 7:30 PM in Eugene
- Where: Mint in Portland | Davis Restaurant in Eugene
- RSVP on Facebook or just drop in: http://bit.ly/HappyHourEugene OR http://bit.ly/HappyHourPdx
IN OUR OWN WORDS | “LET’S WORK TO END MATERNAL POVERTY”
Family Forward’s Founding Executive Director, Andrea Paluso, called for greater attention to ending maternal poverty in The Oregonian‘s Mother’s Day Stump blog because, as she ended her piece, what better way can we honor mothers on Mother’s Day? Her piece begins:
My mother always taught me to leave things better than I found them. From a public restroom to the world around me, the advice was always the same: You have the power to make it better for the next person. This is advice I’ve taken to heart, and those words motivated me to join a group of other mothers to start Family Forward Oregon a few years ago. Since then, we’ve been working hard every day to make the world just a little bit better for the mothers who will follow us.
LEGISLATIVE PROGRESS | EQUAL PAY BILL PASSES!
This year we have four priority bills in the state legislature, and we’re very pleased to report back to you that one passed this week! Just last week the Oregon House voted 59-0 to bring our state one big step closer to pay equity when they passed Senate Bill 744 (a bill that passed 29-0 in the Oregon Senate a few weeks back). This bill requires the Oregon Council on Civil Rights to conduct a study on wage inequality in Oregon and draft a report with clear Oregon-specific recommendations for reducing the pay gap in our state (recommendations that we will, of course, track and work to advance).
This study will help us to identify a path forward toward wage equality in Oregon. And it’s about time! The 50th anniversary of the original Equal Pay Act – signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 — is on June 10th. Since then the wage gap has indeed narrowed, but not nearly quickly enough. If we don’t step in to close it now, women won’t be paid equally for equal work until 2056, 45 years away — and, frankly, we’re not prepared to wait that long.
Each month we select an article and a book that we think are so good we call them “required reading.” We know all too well that parents rarely read books (especially when the kids are little!), which is why we also include a shorter article. If you have the time, of course we recommend both!
Book of the Month | Babygate: What you really need to know about pregnancy and parenting in the workplace
Before women can “lean in” to achieve their career goals, entertain the debate about having it all, or fight for the need to work from home, they have to understand their basic rights in the workplace. For too many women leaning in can result in being pushed out of a job. How and when does the law protect parents? Where does it fall short? This new, insightful guide offers a roadmap to the tricky terrain that comes with being a mom in the American workplace.
Grab a copy here (it’s brand new so you can’t get it at Powell’s or the library yet). No time for books?
Don’t Miss This Article | How to Make the U.S. A Better Place for Caregivers
You probably recall last summer’s Atlantic article about women still not “having it all” that went viral, penned by Anne-Marie Slaughter? Well she’s written a wonderful follow-up piece that expands on the policy changes she acknowledged last year but didn’t draw out. It’s a blueprint for the caring economy we’re working to create here in Oregon.
On her recommended list? Paid family leave, affordable childcare, effective prenatal care, flexible work schedules, equal Social Security for spouses, Social Security for unpaid caregivers, and universal pre-school, among other smart policies that would make work work for today’s families.
QUIZ YOURSELF | How much do you know about workplace leave policies in the U.S.?
You probably know what kind of leave your workplace offers (though many folks don’t know their extended leave options until the moment they need it), but what do you know about the kind of leave available in workplaces all across the United States? Go ahead, test yourself! You just might learn a thing or two about how far behind the United States is when it comes to helping people successfully manage their work and family responsibilities.
LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST: CONNECT WITH YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES
We know our state legislators well and spend a lot of time with them in Salem, not but everyone does. A great first step for those not already connected to their state legislators is to identify your representative in the House and Senate and add your name to their email lists. That way you’ll know what they’re working on and when they’re hosting a neighborhood coffee or a town hall you could attend. It’s quick and easy to find them by entering your street address here; then visit their site and sign up on their email list.
Feedback? Ideas for future newsletters? Ping us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.