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Seniorgram: International Women’s Day – honoring women and caregivers

Roseann MartocciaRoseann MartocciaInternational Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed in the United States since the early 1900s and is an official holiday in more than 25 nations around the world. Since 1913, it has been celebrated on March 8, in recognition of both challenges and accomplishments by and for women.

Initially, IWD coincided with campaigns striving to grant women the right to vote. The day has been used as a focal point to draw attention to difficult working conditions, economic inequality, and underrepresentation of women in business leadership and political office. The United Nations designated 1975 as “International Women’s Year” and held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes.

Today, many organizations and governments hold large-scale events honoring women’s advancement as well as providing a forum for continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life. In this millennium, we see a significant change and shift toward the equality of women in many parts of the world. Work has been a consistent pillar among the themes to which IWD has strived to bring attention to and make improvements toward, on behalf of women.

Women as workers and caregivers - the numbers

What impact does caregiving have on women and their paid work? As reported by the Family Caregiver Alliance, a national study on women and caregiving highlighted the conflicting demands of work and caring. Findings of the study include that:

33% of working women decreased work hours
29% passed up a job promotion, training or assignment
22% took a leave of absence
20% went from fulltime to part-time employment
16% quit their jobs
13% retired early

Families and those who are caregivers for others do so with their loved ones in mind. Families often negotiate how and by whom care will be provided in their family or support system. This delicate balancing act is carried out to the best of caregivers’ abilities, while they cope with the combined demands of caring for a loved one and the need for income, getting assistance from home and community based services available to them and working out the best job option given other responsibilities in their life.

Whether women or men, caregivers contribute so much to those they help and save public expenditures. At the same time, in many cases caregiving has an economic impact on the ability of caregivers to earn wages through paid work.

Learn about caregiving supports that are available through Franklin County Home Care Corporation here, or visit 800ageinfo.com, womenshealth.gov, or caregiver.org for additional information. For information on economic security in MA, go to basiceconomicsecurity.org.