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A caregiver’s wage gap

A caregiver’s wage gap

Keisha Robinson,
Milwaukee, WI

As a mother of nine, I have cared for my family — and myself — through all sorts of health issues over the years. The sniffles, chicken pox, and sometimes more serious medical concerns are a part of life with young kids, no matter what industry you work in! However, my employers have not been cooperative when it comes to helping me be a mom and make ends meet. Many of my employers have not had policies that allow me to earn paid sick days, or to take paid time off for maternity leave, forcing me to choose between my family’s health and a consistent paycheck.

When I was pregnant with my fifth child, I was forced out of a job and onto welfare because I was not guaranteed my position back after giving birth. No employee should have to compromise their job due to something that is out of their control, especially when it comes to the wellness of themselves or their family members.

Our laws simply don’t work for the reality of American families. Women make up almost half of the workforce in the U.S. and we do more than two-thirds of the unpaid work of caring for our sick or elderly family members.1 This culture of female caregiving means that having no paid family leave hits women’s paychecks harder than men’s. That’s why we must ensure access to paid sick days and access to paid family and medical leave insurance across the country. We’ll never fully close the wage gap until we stop punishing women financially for taking care of our families. 

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This blog post is part of 9to5’s collection Faces of the Wage Gap, illuminating the many factors which contribute to income inequality and the necessary solutions needed to reach true economic justice for all women. Please share via social media!
1. “Explaining the Wage Gap.” National Women’s Law Center. April 2013.