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Why Companies Offering Childcare Support Are Also Helping To Tackle The Gender Pay Gap

Plus 15 Companies With Childcare Benefits hiring now

Ever since Amazon made headlines earlier this month when parents at the company asked for back up daycare, I've been thinking about the implications of childcare options (or a lack thereof) for working parents.

My boss (a.k.a PowerToFly's kick-butt cofounder Katharine Zaleski) really put it into perspective for me when she spoke with Bloomberg about the importance of childcare support for working women.


Because men in the U.S. tend to make more money than women, moms are more likely to stay home when their kids are sick, or to give up their careers all together if the price of childcare isn't affordable. (In some states, annual childcare costs exceed $20,000! Consider how much you'd need to be making pre-tax in order to justify that kind of expense… there are different tax benefits you can take advantage of, but still, it's a lot of money!)

Similarly, employers aren't obligated to pay you if you have to take time off to care for a sick child (though you are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave through FMLA). In these cases, logic would dictate that the spouse making less money stay home to take care of the child…which tends to be the woman.

So, whether it's taking a day off to care for a sick child or pressing pause on their careers all together, women continue to do a larger share of work in the home… and that has serious repercussions for their careers. Although women and men are paid more or less equally at the start of their careers, in their late 20s to mid 30s (a.k.a the childbearing years), the gap starts to widen significantly. And while the gap is most significant for women who choose to have children, studies have shown that the gap widens for women in their late 20s/early 30s who don't have children as well!

This is all indicative of a vicious cycle in which women stay home more often with their children because they're paid less, and companies pay women less because they think they might prioritize their kids over their job… So what can employers do to help break this cycle?

Studies have shown that offering childcare benefits can reduce absenteeism by as much as 30%, and turnover by up to 60%.

As it turns out, however, onsite daycare is a relatively uncommon perk - less than 8% of American companies offer it. And while it would be unfair to expect midsize companies to live up to the daycare perks offered by tech juggernauts like Google and Apple, there are other childcare-related benefits that make a big difference for all working parents, but especially moms, who tend to bear the brunt of childcare responsibilities.

From generous paid parental leave (stay tuned for another post on that soon!), gradual returns to work, paid time off to take care of sick children, and childcare benefits like backup daycare and flexible spending accounts, there's a lot that employers can do to help ease the burden of childcare expectations placed on women.

Because as Katharine says, "women shouldn't have to choose between their children and their careers".

Check out the benefits these 15 companies offer to support working parents' childcare needs!

Dow Jones

Onsite Daycare

Bonus Points: Dow Jones also offers a return-to-work program for anyone who has been out of the workforce for two years because of childcare, family care, or other life events.

View Dow Jones' open roles & additional benefits.

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Intuit

Caring for Kids Programs (Including Subsidized Care Programs)

Bonus Points: Intuit offers a return-to-work program and flexible work arrangements.

View Intuit's open roles & additional benefits.

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Microsoft

Special Discounts on Childcare & Subsidized Backup Care

View Microsoft's open roles & additional benefits.

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Expedia Group

Dependent Care & Childcare

Bonus Points: Work from home + reduced/flexible hours.

View Expedia Group's open roles & additional benefits.

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Fidelity

Backup Dependent Care & Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

View Fidelity's open roles & additional benefits.

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FTI Consulting

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

View FTI Consulting's open roles & additional benefits.

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Mastercard

Family Care Resources

View Mastercard's open roles & additional benefits.

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New York Life

Backup Childcare & Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

View New York Life's open roles & additional benefits.

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Bloomberg

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

View Bloomberg's open roles & additional benefits.

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Yelp

Bright Horizons Daycare

View Yelp's open roles & additional benefits.

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PwC

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, Backup Childcare Centers, & Helping Parents Find the Right Nanny

Bonus Points: Family and individual sick days.

View PwC's open roles & additional benefits.

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Raytheon

Dependent Care Reimbursement Account

Bonus Points: Flexible schedules.

View Raytheon's open roles & additional benefits.

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T Rowe Price

Dependent Care Spending Accounts & Childcare Backup Support

View T Rowe Price's open roles & additional benefits.

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Thales

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Reimbursement Account

View Thales' open roles & additional benefits.

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What childcare benefits mean the most to you? Let us know @powertofly.

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Why Female Presidential Candidates Are Still Told to Be Chill, Not Shrill

The Dated, Everyday Tech Stifling Women's Voices Shows the Importance of Diversity in Tech

"You're not like other girls. You're so...chill."

I've gotten that "compliment" from multiple guys in multiple contexts — and I'm ashamed to admit that until a few years ago, I took it as one.

Occasionally I'd wonder why. After all, anyone who knows me well knows I am the Anti-Chill: a tightly wound stress ball, ready to explode into tears at any given moment.

So what was giving these guys the wrong impression? As it turns out, it was my voice. My cool, unnaturally-deep-for-a-woman, never-shrill voice.

And if I'm honest, I always prided myself on not sounding 'like other girls.' No uptalk or high-pitched squeals of glee from me. I thought I sounded smarter and more serious. Talk about internalized misogyny.

This isn't just me though. There is a societal double bind that forces women to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the right pitch and tone for each situation.

Just consider the advice that Democratic-debate coach Christine Jahnke gave female candidates to avoid being labeled as shrill: "… go slow and low. Very purposefully slow your pace and lower the tone a bit, because that will add meaning or gravitas to whatever it is you're talking about."

In a nutshell: try and sound chill, not shrill.

What I didn't know, until recently, is how this bias against women's natural voices is being reinforced and amplified by century-old technology. (Just one of many examples of how technology designed by and for men ends up hurting women in the long-run.)

Author Tina Tallon explains this little-known fact in her recent New Yorker article, summarized below:

How 20th Century Tech Is Holding 21st Century Women Back

With the rise of commercial broadcast radio in the 1920s, women's voices began getting critiqued. As Tallon explains, station directors asserted that "women sounded 'shrill,' 'nasal,' and 'distorted.'" So when industry standards were set, directors didn't take women's voices into account.

When Congress limited the bandwidth available to each radio station in 1927, station directors set a bandwidth that would provide the minimum amount of information necessary to understand "human" speech.

They used lower voices as their benchmark, so the higher frequency components of women's speech necessary to understand certain consonants were cut, making women's voices less intelligible.

  • Researcher J.C. Steinberg asserted that, "nature has so designed woman's speech that it is always most effective when it is of soft and well-modulated tone." He explained that if a woman raised her voice on air, it would exceed the limitations of the equipment. As Tallon says, "He viewed this as a personal and biological failing on women's part, not a technical one on his."

Why You Should Care

Women have always been told to lower their voices, but this 20th century approach to sound frequencies is still accepted as the standard, literally forcing women to lower their voices if they want to be heard.

  • To this day, many algorithms and speakers distort women's speech by limiting higher frequencies, causing women's voices to lose definition and clarity.

Tallon sums it up well:

"Consequently, women are still receiving the same advice that they were given in the nineteen-twenties: lower the pitch of your voice, and don't show too much emotion. By following that advice, women expose themselves to another set of criticisms, which also have a long history: they lack personality, or they sound 'forced' and 'unnatural.'"


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So as we continue to grapple with implicit biases against women, from what it means to be "presidential" to who's considered an "innovative leader," let's remember the importance of diversity in tech.

Had a woman been involved in researching/setting the standards for radio frequencies, she might've been able to steer the industry towards a voiceband that would allow men and women to be heard equally well. And perhaps had a more impartial voiceband been established, I'd have heard a more diverse range of female speakers growing up, and internalized fewer biases myself.

That's why we care so much at PowerToFly about making sure cutting-edge companies have diverse teams.

Times were different then, sure, but the fact that Depression Era standards are still impacting how we hear (or don't hear) women's voices is a vital reminder that what we do today impacts our world for centuries to come.

Agree?

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