Friday, February 04, 2005

This is Unbelievable

A mother's work is never done. And now, it will be even more invisble in government statistics.

Just across my desk. It sounds tedious, tiny, and totally unsexy: the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has collected information on women in the workplace since the 1930's. They are the source that tells us how we're doing: how much we're paid, whether we work part time or fulltime or not at all, how these habits change over time. When I was writing my book, I often called the bureau economists to ask about trends on motherhood, family life, and work. It's unthinkable--it's eery, awful--to imagine this data disappearing.

And the timing. Just as the rumblings of a new feminist movement are being heard, a movement that focuses on motherhood, and work, and equity--ALL THE DATA WILL BE REMOVED. There will be no way to judge the progress (or the lack of progress) of women, mothers and the workplace if our govenrment refuses to collect this information.

So, dear readers, here's some more info, patched in from NOW's action alert, and the form for sending protest emails.

** Urge Labor Department to Keep Collecting Data on Women Workers
January 19, 2005
Take Action:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a division of the Department of Labor, has announced that it will stop collecting employment data on women. Please tell the BLS and your Members of Congress that this information is absolutely essential, and its elimination will ultimately lead to an increase in workplace inequality. The BLS claims that the decision to eliminate collection is related to the lack of demand for the numbers, but the real reason relates to conservatives' intention to downplay women's important economic role and the disparities in their pay, promotion and job assignments. By sending messages to your representatives and directly to the BLS, we may be able to stop this conservative move to "disappear" women.

Timing, as always, is vital. The comment period ends on Feb. 22 and we need you to contact the Bureau of Labor Statistics as soon as possible. We cannot allow the government to eliminate this important source of economic data that informs good public policy.

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