July 2016

Women’s Health

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., which is deeply committed to the health and economic equity of American women, reaffirms and expands its support for women as caregivers—for their own families and for others.

Women are often the primary caregivers for their families, sometimes juggling the responsibilities of caring for both children and aging parents. Approximately 40 million Americans, three-fifths of whom are women, provide unpaid care for an adult relative or friend—exacting a professional, financial, emotional, and physical toll on caregivers and their families.

Over half of employed caregivers report that they reduced work hours or left the workforce in order to accommodate the added responsibilities. Employees who remain in the workforce may jeopardize their career advancement due to missed time or face financial hardships if they lack access to adequate paid family and sick leave options. Female caregivers are more likely to experience stress, depression, and chronic health problems, and also report forgoing their own preventive health care and prescriptions due to cost and lack of time.

Paid care workers—about 90 percent of whom are women—provide an essential life-line for their patients and patients' families. It is essential that families have access to quality and affordable in-home care services, while also ensuring that care workers are afforded the necessary compensation and benefits for their own economic security.

Therefore, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

  • Encourages the medical community to recognize and value the integral role of caregivers—paid and unpaid—in supporting the health and dignity of America’s aging and disabled population.
  • Supports efforts within the medical community and by government to continue assessing unpaid caregiver needs and ensure that they are provided with adequate information, training, counseling, support, quality and affordable supplemental services.
  • Reaffirms its support for paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, and flexible workplace policies to support unpaid caregivers;
  • Welcomes the implementation of the Department of Labor Home Care Rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to paid home care workers without affecting the total number of home care workers nor reducing employees’ hours, and encourages the extension of other economic equity policies to caregivers, as well as investment in training for the home care industry.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.