Women Employed

Carly Hagins / Flickr (BY-NC 4.0)

As national debate on government-mandated paid family leave continues, lawmakers in Illinois say they want it enacted here.


The gender wage gap in the United States hasn’t changed much: On average, women overall still make 80 cents for every dollar a white male makes during a year. But this gap widens when women are broken down by racial group.  Latina Equal Pay Day is November 2--which raised awareness for the widest gap out of all racial groups.

  Despite current employment protections, pregnant women in the workplace are still sometimes forced out of jobs in Illinois. The governor Tuesday signed legislation aimed at ending that practice.

The law is meant to protect women from losing a job just because they become pregnant.

It also requires employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to pregnant women, such as giving more leeway when it comes to taking bathroom breaks or sitting down at work.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

For women of the Greatest Generation — newsman Tom Brokaw’s term for those who served in World War II — the war brought empowerment. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the federal government called America’s men to serve abroad and its women to keep the war machine humming on the home front. Those women — whose life choices mostly were limited to a few “feminine” occupations such as teacher, nurse, homemaker, and perhaps secretary or retail clerk — began working in factories, assembling everything from airplanes to bombs.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Women in the 1960s wanted a voice, the freedom to stand up to men. In the mid-'70s, they crusaded for equity, the right to be treated the same as men.

Regardless of the candidate, I'm sick of the buzz about whether America is ready for a female president. Maybe voters don't think a woman can win, or maybe women voters in particular take special coercing to be won over by a female candidate.