Speak Lab (pt. 3)

Backcasting; dark blue is the goal, purple is intermediary, light blue is first steps

I built the map around the persona of a young single mom working a minimum wage job. I tried to focus on stability in the present and future. Present stability in the form of a stable, well paying job, future stability in the form of financial stability (in case of emergency) and her child’s future.

Much of the intermediary steps were focused on education: education for children to set them up for the future, education or training for the mother to improve her job, whether it be to climb the ladder at her current job or change jobs completely. Legislation and employer priorities/company culture was another common “solution,” but it is difficult for an individual mother to create significant change in those areas.

Stability allows individuals to take the time to pursue further training or education or find a new job. Individuals cane take time off work to care for themselves, or their family, or whatever they need to do. They have a safety net. They can think about the future.

As I built the map, I realized that I was not necessarily addressing the gender pay gap but poverty (single mothers are more likely to live in poverty than married couples). I wasn’t sure how to strong the relationship between poverty and the pay gap is; the pay gap does exacerbate poverty for poor women but it isn’t a primary driving factor.

Perhaps the pay gap is not inherently a problem, but a result. The pay gap is a result of implicit bias, the type of industry or job, taking breaks to raise children, among other things. I am less interested in targeting the gap itself, but more in targeting issues that working women, especially working mothers, face. By addressing some of their concerns, I imagine there would be enough of a ripple effect that the gap would also begin to close.

Two areas that could be potential intervention points are unionizing labor and early education. I imagine an all women union could focus on different issues: working mothers, putting more women in executive positions, getting women into skilled labor jobs that are typically associated with men. As for education, creating a system that would support working moms as well as set girls up to pursue jobs in spaces that are typically dominated by men.

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