Gender equality in the workplace and beyond is one of the most critical business issues we’re facing today. Access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare is central to gender equity and full participation in the workplace. In light of recent laws and the rolling back of Roe v Wade, the future of gender equality hangs in the balance, putting our families, communities, businesses, and the economy at risk.
HOW OVERTURNING ROE V WADE IMPACTS GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Even with the economic and employment gains over the past several decades, restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care threatens the health, independence, and economic stability of our people.
- 86% of women state that controlling if and when to have children has been important to their careers.
- People in some states will have fewer rights than in others, leading to a more unjust and inequitable future. Following the Court’s decision to strike Roe down, 24 states have laws on the books that could outright ban or severely limit access to abortion for tens of millions of people, and only 14 states have passed laws that would explicitly protect the right to abortion. With this, companies will need different health policies for different locations to ensure people can access safe reproductive healthcare. This includes coverage for time off and travel across state lines.
- The economic losses from existing abortion restrictions, including labor force impact and earnings, already cost state economies across the nation an estimated $105 billion annually.
- Being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term means:
- Families are 4x more likely to live below the poverty line
- Parents are 3x less likely to have full-time work
- Parents are 6x more likely to receive public assistance
- Restricting abortion disproportionately affects women of color, putting their wellbeing at risk, and impedes diverse hiring pipelines. To enter and progress in their careers, women need to have full choice over their family planning and healthcare decisions.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO US
As an equal opportunity employer, we believe in providing a safe, autonomous, equitable, and inclusive workplace for all. We believe in equitable access to healthcare and the protection of people at every stage of their reproductive journey. We strongly support everyone’s personal right to choose and exercise complete control over their bodies. The safety, privacy, and freedom of family planning are critical to equality for all.
Wordbank is female-led, with a female CEO, a global executive team with 75% female representation. We have a global management team that’s 80% female and a workforce that is 67% female. As a certified B Corp and committed people-first organization, we believe bodily autonomy and fair/equal access to healthcare is a basic human right.
Employers have an important part to play in this dialogue. 68% of top talent say it’s important to them that their company take a stand on social issues. Roughly 7 in 10 (69%) say access to reproductive health care, including abortion, should be part of the issues companies address when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. Speaking up on this and other issues that affect the personal freedoms of our people is part of our responsibility as global citizens.
WHAT ACTIONS WE’RE TAKING
We will continue to stand up for the equal rights and protections of our people and celebrate the value of women all over the world. The health and safety of our team is our utmost priority. And that includes ensuring access to abortion, the precedent for which as a critical element of reproductive healthcare is clearly established in developed nations. Here’s how:
- Supporting organizations that work to provide reproductive access to all. We’ve joined more than 330 business leaders who’ve signed onto Don’t Ban Equality, a statement of support for abortion access.
- Working to identify obstacles in our company healthcare plans regarding access to abortion and any other reproductive healthcare services.
- Supporting paid time off and covering travel expenses for any Wordbanker to obtain critical reproductive healthcare.
- Opening the dialogue and creating a safe place for our people to share their views and perspectives, without judgment.
Simply put, restricting reproductive healthcare goes against our values and is bad for our community. Forcing pregnant people to carry a baby to term against their will or the medical advice of a doctor threatens the health, independence, and economic stability of people, communities, and businesses everywhere.
This decision restricts basic human rights and impacts our ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. It also leads to an unjust, inequitable future for people already compromised by inequity. When everyone is equally empowered to pursue happiness and success in life, our companies, our communities, and our economy are better for it.