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Empowering Women in Business

A Feminist Agenda for Women in Business

In 1977 some 20,000 women convened at the National Women's Conference organized by the 0 National Commission on the Observance of Intemational Women's Year. The conference, sponsored by the federal government, was the largest, most representative body ever to draft a comprehensive feminist plan of action. The Business Feminist Agenda is based upon the 1977 plan. Here's how that plan of action would apply to eliminating discrimination against women in business today.

EQUALITY

  • Add the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution to ensure equality for women.
  • Eliminate all forms of disc-6mination based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, physical disability, or age.
  • Ensure equal representation for women on corporate boards, in senior management, in professional organizations and associations, and in all decision-making positions in business.
  • Work for strong enforcement of Bill VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, Executive Order 11246 and other laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in employment and education.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

  • Develop and move women into non-traditional fields to eliminate job segregation.
  • Eliminate the wage gap by sex and race through pay equity policies. Use gender and race neutral compensation systems.
  • Uphold the rights of workers to collective bargaining, fair labor standards, a livable minimum wage, decent health and safety standards, and adequate and secure pension lights.
  • Achieve equality for older women in pension plans, Social Security, and insurance.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

  • Implement a comprehensive plan to increase the percentage of women and minorities at all levels and in all positions with specific sanctions against those who violate its tenets.
  • Adopt effective policies that ensure women are given the same advancement and promotion opportunities that men receive.
  • Create internal mechanisms designed to identify and develop potential women managers, and to accelerate their development through "fast track" programs until gender-balance in senior management is achieved.
  • Establish programs that educate managers on sexism and racism and how to deal with these problems in the workplace - programs that teach men and women to work together as colleagues.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

  • Provide medical insurance that covers the full range of medical needs of women employees, including reproductive health care.
  • Provide life insurance, disability and pension programs that are non-discriminatory on the basis of gender.
  • Provide paid sick-leave policies for employees' illness and illness of spouses, lifetime partners, dependent children, and elderly parents.
  • Implement a comprehensive nationwide system of quality child care with sufficient public and private funding.
  • Implement a policy of paid parental leave for workers with Aependent newborns or newly adopted children.

WORK ENVIRONMENT

  • Develop a workplace conducive to the growth of women and men.
  • Estabhsh clear and vigorously enforced sex, race and sexual orientation discrimination and sexual harassment policies and grievance procedures.
  • Maintain security service for employees worldng late and weekend hours when entering and leaving the building.
  • Ensure barrier-free access to all work, transportation and communication facilities.
  • Prohibit corporate sponsored or sanctioned membership in all-male business clubs and/or those that discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

  • Adopt a comprehensive policy for the positive portrayal of women in diverse roles in corporatesponsored media, advertising, and communications.
  • Draft corporate policies that are directed at the preservation of the environment, clean air and water, and the elimination of hazardous waste and smog.