Friday, April 18, 2014

What We've Been Reading...

We hope you had a great week, everyone!
Unwind by catching up on what we have been reading...

A Californian woman intending to work through her pregnancy has been forced into unpaid leave by her employer, causing great financial strain for her and her family. Kimberley Erin Casselman of Pier 1 Imports informed the company of her pregnancy by giving a doctors note outlining her restrictions while at work. Pier 1 responded by first giving her only 8 weeks of light work, but shortly after put her on unpaid leave. Not only will she not be receiving any income before the baby is born, she’ll have exhausted her maternity leave before her due date. Caselman believes she is still fit to work and deserves the right to an income during the duration of her pregnancy.
This case illustrates why pregnant workers need better protection from discrimination on the job. Women are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; however, it does not include a clear mandate for how companies must accommodate them. A federal version of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act seeks to change this situation, but has failed to pass in the legislative process. Read more here.

In “pro-family” Phyllis Schlafly’s world, providing women with equal pay for equal work will inhibit them from finding a suitable husband. Schalfly’s comments come just days after Senate Republicans had the opportunity to finally close the pay gap between men and woman with the Paycheck Fairness Act, but blocked the act for the third time citing the bill, “would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers.”  Phyllis reasons that men prefer women who make less than them when considering a partner, and says that the best way to empower women, "is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap." After decades of progress in the fight for gender equality, this opinion has no place in 2014. It disparages women’s potential and refuses them the opportunity to be both successful in their professional careers as well as in their personal lives.

Women in the CIA have officially broken the glass ceiling: More than half of the agency’s employees are female, for the first time in history. Eight out of the top ten positions are now held by females, including the Deputy Director, Avril Haines, and Director of Intelligence, Fran Moore. Since the agency’s inception, it had traditionally been a “boys club,” but over the past 20 years there has been significant growth not only for females but also for minorities. CIA director, John Brennan, was quoted telling Ann Curry,  "Women make us better. Minorities make us better. People with diverse experiences make us better. I am so pleased to be able to look around the conference table in the morning and see individuals who represent the best of what this agency has to offer. And more and more of those faces are the faces of women." This progression is promising, and women everywhere should take it as a sign of their worth.