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For women's career equality: parent-friendly work, Equal Rights Amendment

To break glass ceilings, feminists of the past put career above all else. But a new generation of feminists isn't willing to sacrifice family for work. Instead, they're lobbying to make workplaces more family friendly.

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Last week, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D) of New York and Senator Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey reintroduced The Equal Rights Amendment on the floor of Congress. This is not a startling event – the bill has been introduced every session since 1972.

Maybe you’re rolling your eyes at the mere mention of the ERA. Isn’t that a throwback to ’70s feminism? Hey, you’ve come a long way, baby. Don’t we have enough gender equality already?

But anyone who thinks that is just wrong. Numbers released just this May by the National Association of Colleges and Employers show that women who are graduating from college this year will make 17 percent less than their male counterparts in their first jobs. And that’s before those pesky questions of family and career balance are even on the table.

This is nothing new. A 2007 poll of Harvard graduating seniors found that the median first-year base salary for males was $60,000 compared to $50,000 for females – a gender wage shortfall of about 17 percent for some of the most talented young women in America. Over the course of a career, that gap can add up, meaning women miss out on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnings.


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