A key challenge for the 21st century is to transform our workplaces so people can meet the dual demands of work and family, and to implement the health reform law so it provides coordinated, quality, affordable care for all. Those were the messages at the National Partnership for Women & Families’ 40th anniversary celebration, held at the Washington Hilton hotel today. The event featured keynote speaker First Lady Michelle Obama.
More than 1,500 guests came to hear the First Lady discuss challenges facing the nation and the administration’s commitment to women and families. Other speakers at the event included Ellen Malcolm, Chair of the Board of EMILY’s List who also chairs the National Partnership’s Board of Directors, and Sally Susman, corporate chair of the event and a National Partnership board member who also is Executive Vice President, Policy, External Affairs & Communications for Pfizer Inc. WRC-TV’s Eun Yang emceed the event.
Ness discussed the need to make workplaces more family friendly as the nation ages and caregiving responsibilities grow, calling it a “national embarrassment” that the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is the last federal law that has been passed to help Americans manage the demands of work and family.
Discussing recent actions by the House of Representatives, Ness added: “When they try to defund family planning and shut down Planned Parenthood, we need to say: Enough. Hands off our health care. This is ideology driving policy at the cost of women’s lives.”
Ness also discussed the Campaign for Better Care — a project of the National Partnership, Community Catalyst, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Health Law Project — that is working to ensure the country’s oldest and sickest patients get the quality, well-coordinated care they need.