Women are all riled up(and rightly so!) about the religious right’s hijacking of the Susan G. Komen foundation. I’d like to draw your attention to another upsetting, everyday women’s health issue, just in the city where I live, where so much of the world’s money flows. Fact is, there are an estimated 1.6 million working New Yorkers without a single paid sick day. Let that shameful fact sink in. Many workers work while sick for fear of losing their job, or just because they cannot function financially without that day’s pay. Many women cannot leave their jobs to seek treatment from a doctor when sick, let alone for OB/GYN visits for cancer screenings, mammograms, or blood-work. That is, if they are fortunate enough to even have health insurance that allows access to these lifesaving preventative procedures! Speaking practically, we all know that one sick person in a small workspace is likely to spread the illness to other workers, resulting in lower productivity, and possible loss in time and pay. The implications are far reaching, when you consider all the folks who may be preparing food, caring for children and the elderly, and interacting with the public, all while sick and possibly contagious. Large numbers of parents send sick kids to school because they cannot stay home from work to care for them, ultimately causing their classmates to get sick, which then creates the same dilemma for another family. Imagine for a moment, what happens when you delay treatment for illness and work while very sick? Common sense tells you may get sicker, and possibly damage your health. You may end up in an very expensive emergency room, and wind up losing even more time from work.
Women vote too, and this is an outrage that needs attention in this election year. We as good citizens of our country must pressure our government to pass laws that force business to do the right thing, no matter who wins the 2012 presidential race. Perhaps, if we turn our ire on this issue that affects so many working people, including so many women, changes to worker’s rights can be made that benefit everyone.