Examination of the inequalities women still face in the workforce.
As president of the American Constitution Society and former director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, Fredrickson understands the complex laws regarding fairness in labor practices. In this extensive analysis of gender equity and protection in the workplace, the author exposes the large proportion of workers, primarily women of color, who have slipped through the grid of legislative laws and who do not receive the same rights as other working women and, particularly, men. This large group consists of women working part-time or as independent contractors, domestic help taking care of children and/or the elderly, waitresses, hairstylists, office cleaners, receptionists and secretaries, and any others who fill many of the minimum-wage jobs in the United States. Fredrickson examines how current laws have undoubtedly helped many women but still allow this section of society to be excluded from basic practices such as child care and paid maternity. The author uses personal stories to demonstrate the widespread unfairness found in the workforce—e.g., women being fired for getting pregnant or requesting time off to take care of a sick child, those who have suffered sexual harassment, then are fired when they instigate lawsuits against the perpetrator. “We have definitely not reached the promised land,” writes the author. “More and more of our jobs lack benefits; fewer of us are part of a union; almost none of us have decent or affordable child care; many are denied sick days or family leave and are forced to sign away their remaining protections to get or keep a job.” Women comprise 63.9 percent of “breadwinners or co-breadwinners,” and Fredrickson effectively bares all the loopholes and fallacies in America’s policies toward this significant, but often underappreciated and underrepresented, piece of the national workforce.
Informative, occasionally shocking exploration of the state of women’s rights in the workplace.