On June 23 2014, President Obama, along with the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress, hosted a Summit on Working Families. The goal of this summit was to find new ways to improve flexibility for working families raising children or caring for aging parents.
Obama believes that to stay competitive in the 21st century workplace families need to have more opportunities to succeed by being better able to balance their responsibilities at home and work. If our economy is truly going to work, it needs to work for all Americans, just not a select few.
The Root.com published exerts of a memorandum, signed by the President during the summit, which provides an insight around the importance of encouraging a more family-friendly work environment, including protecting pregnant women, making child care more affordable, expanding opportunities for woman to earn higher paying STEM jobs, and increasing investments in research to better understand the benefits of paid leave.
While current, yet outdated, work policies make it more difficult for working mothers, fathers are also feeling the effects. In many cases, parents are forced to choose between their job and their family. Fathers aren’t provided with paternal leave, or given the chance to attend their children’s doctor appointments, games, or special school events.
In his Huffington Post Blog post, Obama gave his rational behind the Summit on Working Families, and why he feels this needs to be a top priority, stating, “Family leave, childcare, flexibility and a decent wage aren’t frills. They’re basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses – they should be the bottom line.”