Regardless of your personal beliefs, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade means a loss of fundamental human rights for women and other people who may experience pregnancy—and will have a profound impact on their overall health, educational opportunities, career advancement, earning power, and ability to build wealth. As an organization committed to advancing women in research, we weighed whether to comment on this recent event. Abortion has long been a contentious issue in the United States, and it is one that sharply divides Americans along partisan, ideological and religious lines. Ultimately though, we must recognize that the end of Roe has far-reaching consequences for the American workforce, the U.S. economy and our nation’s pursuit of gender and racial equity. Further, it jeopardizes workplace gains women have made over the past 50 years, disproportionately impacts women of color, and forces companies to implement different health policies for different locations.
It is important for us to acknowledge the palpable wave of fear, heartbreak, rage and frustration being felt by so many since this devastating decision to strike down vital health and reproductive protections. What was once about equal pay and equal opportunity now feels inextricably heavier and all-encompassing; the fight, now, is quite literally for our lives.
You’ve no doubt seen countless infographics and social media posts telling you who to support, who not to support, and how to get involved. As someone who unwaveringly believes in the positive impact of women in business and in the importance of financial and professional literacy, I want to suggest a powerful point-of-action: make their wallets hurt.
Despite earning less and having less wealth than men, women control 85% of consumer spending. As the corporations and companies who fill our grocery store shelves and dominate our ad space pour more and more funding into anti-reproductive rights lobbying and legislation, they seek to offset their impact with half-hearted social media posts and media stunts. Educate yourself on where the money is going and find alternative businesses to support whose values align with your own. The woman-led Ellevest has multiple guides noting woman-owned companies that I invite you to explore.
Similarly, while I’ve heard from many of you who are eager to start your own initiatives to champion reproductive rights, I urge you to seek out organizations (and political candidates) that have been doing the hard work and to put your full support behind them. Look especially to areas with the greatest need; while Planned Parenthood has done incredible advocacy work for more than 100 years in this space, local clinics and other reproductive care organizations have been tirelessly operating against impossible odds to serve the most vulnerable among us. Find a local abortion fund or clinic and champion them where you can — they need you. Here is a list of pro-choice political candidates in the mid-term elections; reach out to volunteer or just commit to vote for representatives who will legislate for women’s choice.
Finally: take care of yourself and advocate for each other. Those who will be directly impacted by these laws constitute more than half the US workforce. Employers and leaders will need a game plan for how to support these workers now that the government has turned their back on them. It may be that your leadership team does not have the representation it needs to make those decisions from an informed perspective. Communicate with your coworkers and speak up collectively for your needs. Ask would-be employers about their position on the topic of reproductive rights and voice your expectations and requirements for employment. Do not bend or concede. If you are in a leadership role and do not see the proper representation on your team, implement new standards today. Restructure today. We need allies in our life and in leadership to commit to equality wholeheartedly. We cannot go backward.
Please reach out to WIRe HQ and let us know if there is anything we can do to support you individually or as a community on the road ahead. Internally, we are discussing resources and programs that will specifically address the ongoing impact of this ruling, and potential future rulings that may further limit access to contraception methods.
With much love and hope,
Founder, Women in Research