The FACTS:

  • Families depend on working women.
  • In March 1996, 70% of all women with children under age 18 were in the labor force.
  • More than 40 percent of working women head their own households. They are single, divorced, separated or widowed, and nearly 30 percent have dependent children.
  • Many working women are finding themselves in the "sandwich generation," caught between issues of caring for their children and caring for aging parents or other relatives.
  • The majority of the new workforce entrants will be women. This shift puts more mothers/ "caregivers" on the job compelling creative solutions.
  • Women feel that neither their employers nor public policy adequately recognize or support women's family responsibilities.
  • While women exhibit characteristics that employers need, they are concerned that what they need (benefits, a caring workplace, and a work-life balance) is not being made available to them.

The ACTION:

  • In June 1997, the DCW hosted a national interactive discussion titled "Economic Equities: Realities, Responsibilities and Rewards." This National Working Women’s Summit enabled dialogue between advocates, community leaders, working women and policy leaders such as Vice President Al Gore and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexis Herman about such issues as affordable child care, fair pay and balancing work and family.
  • In January 1998, the Commission sponsored "Balancing Work & Family: Innovative Solutions to Challenges Facing Women." With sites in each county, this interactive video forum provided the opportunity to consider solutions for the multiple challenges facing women as they accept the provider role - both as nurturer and breadwinner.

The FUTURE:

  • The Commission plans to continue promoting creative solutions to work and family challenges.