TIME'S UP 2020: The Issues
TIME’S UP insists on a world where work is safe, fair, and dignified women of all kinds — and we mean it. Women of all kinds — from every industry, from every walk of life — are mobilized to say TIME’S UP to sexual harassment and to the systemic inequality that allows such abuses to be committed in the first place. We advocate alongside the most vulnerable while holding the most powerful to account.
Our goals are ambitious, as they are urgent: Preventing sexual harassment before it starts and protecting workers when it happens; removing barriers so women have an equal shot at success and security; and increasing women's representation and power at every level of every industry.
To that end, we are asking all 2020 presidential candidates to present their plans for addressing the following issues:
Ending sexual harassment at work
Closing the gender and racial pay gap
Realizing paid family and medical leave
Ensuring access to quality, affordable child care
It’s time our leaders take concrete steps to enact these policies. We’re not waiting any longer. Here’s how they can start.
Ending Sexual Harassment at Work
Bottom Line: Sexual harassment is a widespread problem, and one that often goes unreported and unaddressed. Let’s be clear: No one deserves to be sexually harassed, assaulted, intimidated or retaliated against at work.
Candidates for president must prioritize ending sexual harassment and pledge to strengthen protections for workers who experience sexual harassment.
The Problem of Sexual Harassment at Work:
- Forty percent of women report experiencing sexual harassment over the course of their careers.
- Very few people file formal reports when they’ve been sexually harassed — for reasons ranging from fear of retaliation to believing that nothing will be done to address the situation. In fact, the EEOC estimates that 75 percent of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported. And when employees do speak out against harassment, they often face some form of retaliation.
- Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace can experience tremendous mental, physical, and economic harm. And sexual harassment contributes to workplaces with higher turnover, lower productivity, and repetitional harm.
- Sexual harassment comes at a real economic cost. Almost a third of all complaints received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2015 were related to sexual harassment, and the EEOC recovered $164.5 million for workers who experienced harassment.
Why Sexual Harassment Matters to Voters:
- Eighty-one percent of voters see sexual harassment in the workplace as a serious problem, and 44 percent of voters characterize it as a very serious problem.
- Fifty-one percent of voters say they wouldn’t vote for candidates who didn’t make addressing sexual harassment a priority.
Voters will be listening closely to the 2020 presidential candidates’ plans for addressing sexual harassment in the workplace — a top priority for voters this election.
Closing the Pay Gap
Bottom Line: Women represent 47 percent of the U.S. labor force and are increasingly the sole or primary breadwinners in their families. Despite women’s growing economic participation, they are still paid on average 20 percent less than men — a wage gap that has, in fact, stagnated, with very little change since 2007 and is even bigger for women of color.
The pay gap is a major concern for all working women and their families. Candidates for president must prioritize closing the pay gap for good, and that’s why we’re asking every 2020 candidate their plan for doing so.
The Problem of the Pay Gap in America:
- Women who work in the US are paid, on average, 80 cents on a man’s dollar. That loss that amounts to more than $10,000 in lost wages per woman per year — more than $400,000 over the course of a career. That’s owning a home, sending a child to college with no debt, or starting a business.
- That number is even worse for many women of color: Black women earn 61 cents for every dollar a man makes. Native American women earn 58 cents. Hispanic women earn just 53 cents.
- While there are federal and state laws in place, disparities remain due to systemic barriers and loopholes in existing equal pay laws that shortchange women.
Why the Pay Gap Matters to Voters:
- Voters agree widely that the problem of pay inequality needs to be addressed. Women voters overwhelmingly support government action to strengthen equal pay laws, with 91 percent of women voters agreeing that Congress should enact more robust policies.
We’re looking forward to hearing the 2020 presidential candidates’ plans for eliminating the pay gap for good — a top priority for voters this election.
Realizing Paid Family and Medical Leave
Bottom Line: Nobody should fall into financial ruin simply because they need to take time off from work to care for a new child, tend to an ill family member, or recover from an injury. Yet many people are forced to lose their paycheck when they need to care for themselves or a family member.
The lack of paid leave in America hurts all working families, but hits women, and particularly women of color, hardest since they shoulder a disproportionate amount of caregiving responsibilities. Candidates for president must prioritize establishing a national paid leave program in order to level the playing field for women and their families.
The Problem of the Lack of Paid Family and Medical Leave in America:
- The federal Family and Medical Leave Act is the law of the land, but that legislation only legalized unpaid leave in all 50 states. Adding insult to injury, roughly 40 percent of workers are ineligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act’s minimal protections.
- Paid family and medical leave allows workers to continue to earn a living while caring for a sick family member, addressing a serious health condition, welcoming a new child or recovering from an injury. However, only 15 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.
- Just seven states — New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California, New York, Washington — and the District of Columbia have passed paid leave programs that benefit all working families, but particularly working women.
- We are not keeping up with the rest of the world on paid leave: the US is one of only two countries that offer no paid maternity leave.
Why Paid Leave Matters to Voters:
- Eighty-four percent of voters support a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave policy that covers all people who work.
Even across party lines, the vast majority of Democrats (94 percent) and Republicans (74 percent) support a national policy that would allow working people to care for themselves or a family member.
Establishing a federal paid leave program is a major priority for voters this election and we are eager to hear our candidates’ proposals for making it a reality.
Ensuring Access to Universal Quality, Affordable Child Care
Bottom Line: The care a child receives early in life has enormous impact on their health and development for years to come. And access to quality, affordable child care is essential to help working parents and ensure their financial security.
Despite this, families in the U.S. struggle to access quality, affordable child care in the absence of a comprehensive, federal program. Lack of reliable child care is a major barrier for working women in America — and we’re counting on candidates for president to have a plan to address this major problem for women, children, and families.
The Problem of the Lack of Quality, Affordable Child Care in America:
- Child care is economically burdensome on families and frequently one of their largest household expenses. On average, child care in a care center costs a family nearly $11,000 annually — and the quality of child care varies wildly.
- There’s a steep economic cost to the uneven system of child care in America: Child care breakdowns cause 45 percent of parents to miss work at least once over a six month period, resulting in $4.4 billion in losses annually.
- Lack of child care availability and affordability hits women’s labor force participation hardest. When childcare becomes 10 percent more expensive, the number of women who are employed may drop by as much as six percent.
- This is not only a child development issue, it is an economic mobility problem. Moms and dads who can’t access affordable child care face barriers to entering the workforce and moving up in their careers.
- Child care workers earn an average wage of $10.62 which fails to meet workers’ most basic needs.
Why Child Care Matters to Voters:
- Child care is a major issue for voters: 80 percent of those who voted for Donald Trump and 79 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton want the federal government to raise the quality of childcare and make it more affordable.
- Lack of consistent, quality, affordable child care is a major barrier to economic security for millions of families — and a problem all candidates must address in their policy platforms.
Voters overwhelmingly support a universal, high-quality, affordable child care system and we look forward to hearing the candidates’ plan to address this issue.