Improving the Health of Working Women: Aligning Workplan Structures to Reflect the Value of Women's Labor

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paige Hall Smith, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The lack of societal response to the needs of working women, especially mothers, has resulted in systematic gender-based inequities in labor force opportunities, salary, and benefits that negatively impact the physical, psychological, social, and financial well-being of women and their families. Since women now comprise 45% of the total US labor force, and economists are predicting both an aging and shrinking labor force through 2050,1 reducing the workplace-workforce mismatch through polices and programs that better meet the needs of women workers makes sense from both health and economic perspectives. This paper outlines policies in several areas that could help reduce this mismatch and improve women’s health, including policies on health insurance, pay equity, paid sick leave, family leave, workplace breastfeeding support, sexual harassment, and healthy work environment. A 2003 national conference on “Workplace-Workforce Mismatch: Work, Family, Health and Wellbeing,” sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, concluded that “it is evident that a structural workplace/workforce mismatch exists in which the workplace itself no longer fits the needs of increasing numbers of workers.”2 The force behind this mismatch is the feminization of the labor force and the lack of societal response to the needs of working mothers who continue to carry primary responsibility for both childcare and domestic work. Today, 45% of the American workforce is female, and over 75% of women ages 25-54 are employed. From 1975 to 2001 the participation of mothers in the labor force has risen from 54% to 73%.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
workplace policy, labor, women's labor, motherhood, women's rights, working women, workplace equality , women's health

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