On June 23rd, 2014, the White House Council for Women and Girls in conjunction with the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress will host a White House Summit on Working Families with President Obama in attendance.
I have been invited to attend and participate in discussions to identify policy solutions to help increase outcomes for women and families in the workplace, so I reached out to the North Carolina Chapter of National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to help me identify the concerns most important to social workers as a female dominated profession. As a result, we will co-host a live Twitter Town Hall using the hashtag #swhelper as well as a Facebook Forum on the Social Work Helper Fanpage simultaneously on Tuesday, June 17th at 8PM EST.
For those who read Social Work Helper, you know that I have strong opinions about everything, but this is bigger than me. Not only is this an opportunity to represent women, it is also an opportunity to share the concerns of social workers who are predominately women dealing with these same issues of pay equity, child care, workplace discrimination, sick leave, and paternity leave.
According to the upcoming White House Summit on Working Families, women increasingly play a central role in determining their families’ economic standing—6 in 10 women are now the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners for their families. But many workplaces have not caught up. Too many women still earn less than men for doing the same job and often face barriers to job advancement. NASW North Carolina stands by all efforts to ensure equal pay and security for the social work profession, a profession that is essential to the well-being of every community in the United States.
The NASW Center for Workforce Studies and Social Work Practice has determined that gender-based pay inequity remains a persistent problem for social workers and other female-dominated professions. Male-dominated occupations consistently pay more than female-dominated occupations at similar skill levels. Even men working in female dominated occupations were found to earn more than women in the same occupation (National Organization of Women, 2004). This finding was supported in an NASW workforce study of licensed social workers that revealed a significant gender gap in salaries for licensed social workers (Whitaker, Weismiller & Clark, 2006).
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy. The North Carolina Chapter of NASW (NASW-NC) is headquartered in Raleigh, NC with over 4,500 social work members. NASW-NC focuses on standards of practice, legislation, and policy that impact professional social workers and families throughout North Carolina.
Summit participants are being asked to talk to their local community and hold events to identify the concerns of women in their local area in order to submit a finding to the White House prior to the summit. After the virtual town hall, I will compile the responses from the Facebook Forum and Twitter Town Hall into a storify.
Then, we will co-author a finding to submit to the White House in advance of the event. My hope is to show that social workers have a lot of support, and they should care more about social worker too. The White House hashtag for the Summit is #workingfamilies if you want to tag them in your tweets. Not only will I be participating in the Summit, but I have been granted press access. So, I will be tweeting and sharing behind the scenes photos with Social Work Helper readers.
On Tuesday, June 17th, at 8PM EST, Valrie Arendt will be tweeting from the NASW-NC twitter handle @naswnc, and I will be using Social Work Helper @swhelpercom for the Twitter Town Hall using the hashtag #swhelper. If you have not participated in a twitter chat before, you can view instruction using this link. For those who may not be quite comfortable with twitter, you can still participate by going to the Social Work Helper Facebook Fanpage, where the same questions asked in the Twitter Town Hall will be posted on the fanpage for you to respond. We look forward to seeing you there!
Deona Hooper, MSW is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Social Work Helper, and she has experience in nonprofit communications, tech development and social media consulting. Deona has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Management and Community Practice as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.