BY LAUREN Y. CASTEEL
PRESIDENT AND CEO
THE WOMEN’S FOUNDATION OF COLORADO
Women are the co- or sole-breadwinners in nearly half of Colorado households with children under 18. Their economic success lifts families, communities, and our economy for generations to come. But persistent barriers, such as the gender pay gap and lack of work supports, have impeded their workplace advancement for decades.
The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO) is the only statewide community foundation focused on generating economic opportunities for women. Through our WAGES (Women Achieving Greater Economic Security) work, WFCO and our partners focus on nonpartisan public policies and direct-service programs that create transformative opportunities for women in our state.
During the 2018 legislative session, Colorado hit several high notes for women in the workplace but also missed key opportunities to foster their economic advancement.
Alongside grantee partners, policymakers and advocates, WFCO helped increase access to job training programs and family planning resources for women, as well as pass measures that invest in the quality of child care while easing the cost burden of care – a significant barrier to women and their families reaching economic security. The passing of bipartisan House Bill 18-1208, Child Care Expenses Income Tax Credit Expansion, will provide needed relief to families making $60,000 or less annually with child care expenses.
But despite these notable successes, legislators did not pass measures that would have helped women overcome barriers to workplace entry and stabilization and boosted equity.
Colorado lost out on a solid strategy to support and retain women in the workplace through a statewide, employee-paid family and medical leave insurance program that would have provided partial wage replacement for workers while on leave. Additionally, Colorado women will continue to be subjected to the unfair employment practice that allows employers to seek wage or salary history information about a job candidate. In 2017, Colorado women aged 16 and older who worked full time, year-round, earned 86.0 cents on the dollar earned by men who also worked full time, year-round. Prior low pay should not be a reason for perpetuating women’s lower pay.
If you are interested in helping us create change for women across Colorado, we invite you to learn more about The Women’s Foundation of Colorado at our Annual Luncheon featuring sports icon and activist, Billie Jean King, on Oct. 10, 2018. Purchase tickets, tables and sponsorships at wfco.org.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |