White House Summit on Working Families | June 23, 2014

June 25, 2014
MIchelle Obama at the White House Summit on Working Families
First Lady Michelle Obama talks about what working families need to survive and thrive at the Summit.

We are so inspired after our experience at the White House Summit on Working Families this week in Washington, DC!  What an exciting and momentous day, highlighting the important work we are doing in Oregon and across the country to make it possible for today’s families to care for each other without sacrificing our economic security.  Change is definitely in the air!  And we want to share our enthusiasm with you.

So many impressive leaders calling for the change today’s families need

So many incredible people spoke out at the Summit for stronger work-family policies in our country (President Obama & the First Lady! Vice-President Biden! Gloria Steinem! Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks!), policies you know we need because you live it: affordable childcare, paid family & medical leave, paid sick days, equal pay for equal work, and protection from pregnancy discrimination, to name a few.

President Obama is *definitely* on board

President Obama framed a big piece of the problem today’s women and families face when he spoke, Many women can’t get a single paid day off to give birth. That’s a pretty low bar.” He also acknowledged that the time crunch and financial struggles today’s families are experiencing are society’s problems, not personal ones, and he called for policy solutions:

“These problems are not typically the result of poor planning or too little diligence on the parts of moms or dads, and they cannot just be fixed by working harder or being an even better parent.  All too often, they are the results of outdated policies and old ways of thinking.  Family leave, childcare, workplace flexibility, a decent wage — these are not frills, they are basic needs They shouldn’t be bonuses.  They should be part of our bottom line as a society.  That’s what we’re striving for.”

You can read his remarks here or listen to his weekly address on the topic here.  Both are worthwhile.

Oregon is working for change, too

Our policy director, Lili Hoag, represented us at the summit and brought with her two incredible Oregon women who are on the forefront of the work-family issues that matter to you and to Family Forward: State Rep. Jessica Vega Pederson (HD 47) and Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Eugene-based Palo Alto Software. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici – another champion for work-family policies that really work for today’s families – also participated in the summit.

The changes we are making here are being talked about all over the country!

You can look forward to hearing more from these leaders as we prepare for our own state’s 2015 legislative session (which starts next February). On our front burner: paid sick days for ALL Oregonians!  Like President Obama said on Monday“…if Congress will not act, we’re going to need mayors to act.  We’ll need governors and state legislators to act.”

About the Summit:

On June 23, 2014, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Center for American Progress (CAP) will hosted a Summit on Working Families to focus on creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans. Workplaces that make full use of the talented pool of American workers are essential – to a thriving and healthy economy, to enable businesses to stay competitive in today’s global economy, and to help all workers ensure the economic stability of their families.

Too many working Americans – both women and men – are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet and respond to the competing demands of work and family. They convened businesses, economists, labor leaders, policymakers, advocates, and ordinary citizens to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the coming decades.

Here’s some great coverage of the event: