Women’s Economic Equity and Security

July 2014

Civil & Human Rights

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc., deeply committed to women’s rights, reaffirms and expands its support for new measures that will achieve economic equity and security for women and their families. 

Hadassah has a long history advocating for equal rights and a just economic society—championing policies on civil rights, pay equity, parental leave, child care, the minimum wage, and social welfare programs that protect America’s most vulnerable citizens.  Hadassah reaffirms support for these policies, advocates for improved enforcement, and promotes the implementation of new measures that will provide flexibility for working families without forcing sacrifices to their economic security.

Hadassah recognizes the full and equal capabilities of female employees, and celebrates their unique talents which help businesses grow and thrive.  However, women remain underrepresented in boardrooms and elected offices across the country and continue to face discrimination based on gender, pregnancy and motherhood.  Although it has been 50 years since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, women earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar and the wage gap has not changed in the last decade.  Since the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act 20 years ago, the United States has become one of only four countries that does not require any type of paid parental leave.   

Minimum-wage workers—two-thirds of whom are women—and other service or low-wage employees are struggling to support their families, and lack benefits available to a majority of the workforce. A single parent working full-time at minimum-wage is living nearly $4,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of three.  Women are often the caregivers for their families, sometimes juggling the responsibilities of both children and aging parents. The average family with young children spends about $6,700 a year on childcare, and rising costs continue to put severe economic strain on middle and low income families. Thirty-eight percent of private sector employees are not provided the opportunity to earn paid sick leave—forcing them to choose between their own health and safety or that of their families, and the ability to afford life’s basic necessities. 

Hadassah recognizes the importance of the business community—especially small businesses—for economic development, and encourages cooperation between the public and private sectors to implement policies that support women’s leadership and economic security without creating undue burdens for their employers. 

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

  • Reaffirms support for pay equity policies—calling upon federal, state and local governments to improve enforcement of equal pay laws and enact new measures that will reduce the gender wage gap.
  • Expands support for anti-discrimination policies to include pregnancy—urging governments to improve enforcement of pregnancy discrimination laws and enact new measures that will help protect pregnant workers’ rights.
  • Reaffirms support for increasing the minimum wage and calls for governments to examine ways to structure increases that account for inflation and the cost of living.
  • Expands support for family and medical leave, advocating for regulations which will allow more workers the opportunity to earn paid parental, family and sick leave.
  • Reaffirms its commitment to the necessity of quality childcare for the well-being of American society and calls on the public and private sectors to provide affordable childcare services and subsidies

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.