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THE PLEDGE TO CARE

Imagine a future in which public and corporate policy in the U.S. reflect the way each of us values caregiving. In this future, everyone can care for their loved ones without jeopardizing their financial security or sacrificing their career. In this future, work and care are compatible.

Project Matriarchs aims to bring Gen Z’s energy and organizing power behind care, propelling forward the work of prior generations to transform care in the U.S. Written and organized by Gen Z students from all over the country, Pledge to Care is a tool to build generational consensus about the support we believe caregivers should receive from their employers. We mean all caregivers—from wage workers to salaried employees—no matter who they are caring for. Once we have consensus, we’ll use our positionality as future employees to advocate for corporate change.

 

The urgency to enact policies in support of working caregivers in the U.S. has never been more apparent. Over two million women left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, erasing 30 years of progress toward gender parity in the workforce. Twice as likely to be forced out of the workforce, women of color continue to shoulder the largest burden of our country’s care crisis.

 

Pledge to Care is an expression of values, a tool to challenge the way in which all of our systems undervalue care, starting with the private sector. We understand the magnitude of this ask. However, we believe investing in the well-being of caregivers is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Companies have the chance to be at the forefront of a growing movement to ascribe value to care and create systems to match. 


Pledge to Care is by Gen Z, for everyone. Join us in Pledging to Care by signing below.

Find the full text of Pledge to Care, including research-based supplementary paragraphs HERE. Following are the overarching values and expectations we aim to express with Pledge to Care.

1

We want employers to take responsibility for and invest in the well-being of their caregiving employees. While we believe it’s the government’s duty to enact public policy that establishes an adequate baseline of support for caregivers in the U.S., we also believe that the private sector has a critical role to play.

2

We want employers to track the caregiving status of their employees. 73% of employees have caregiving responsibilities, but 52% of companies don’t even know their employees’ caregiving status. As TendLab argues, “you can’t fix a problem you can’t see.” This data should inform internal operations and should be shared with the public.

3

We want employers to acknowledge that care is an intersectional issue. We want employers to use data about caregiving status in conjunction with demographic data to illuminate the ways in which caregivers’ gender and race inform their experiences as caregivers in the workplace.

4

We want employers to speak openly about their own caregiving responsibilities, setting the precedent for employees at all levels that they can do the same. This is an accessible, impactful way that anyone can contribute to the gradual erosion of stigma around the topic of care and the bias applied to caregivers in the workplace.

5

We want employers to enact policies that reflect the most contemporary conceptions of gender. When crafting corporate policy, it is critical that employers continue to center the experiences of women. That being said, we want corporate policy to reflect the fact that our generation does not see gender as a binary.

6

We want employers to eliminate bias against caregivers from their hiring practices. Employers often fail to consider that caregivers may in fact be better at their jobs because of their caregiving experience, missing opportunities to hire or promote uniquely productive talent as a result.

7

We want employers to acknowledge how the motherhood penalty has impacted the careers of women, particularly women of color, and work to eliminate it in their workplaces. The very notion that a mother’s caregiving status exists in inherent tension with her workplace performance is founded not in fact or research, but in misogyny. We want employers to stop punishing mothers based on the misguided assumption that a woman’s motherhood defines her potential as an employee.

8

We want employers to provide gender-neutral paid parental leave, allowing both partners in a relationship to take equal time off. Maternity vs. paternity leave programs reflect and reinforce the sexist, heteronormative expectation that women in opposite-sex relationships take on far more caregiving responsibilities than men.

9

We want employers to encourage male-identifying parents to take leave. When men in opposite-sex couples take leave, it sets the stage for a more equitable split of caregiving responsibilities in the long run. By encouraging men to take leave, employers will give our generation the agency to practice balanced, equitable caregiving dynamics if we so choose.

10

We want employers to provide caregiving benefits that reflect a progressive definition of “family,” extending beyond biological kinship to include chosen family. We want employers to provide paid parental leave that’s accessible to all families, including those headed by adoptive parents, foster parents, and same-sex couples.

11

12

We want employers to offer paid leave for all caregivers, regardless of who they’re caring for—from parents, to partners, to friends.

We want employers to offer paid caregiving leave to minimum and low wage shift workers. Our generation believes paid leave should not be a luxury reserved for high-salaried executives.

13

We want employers to provide childcare support for all employees. When it comes to a caregiver’s ability to participate in the workforce, childcare is often the determining factor.

14

We want employers to put their lobbying power behind caregiving policies, both public and corporate. By advocating for policy solutions, companies can challenge the narrative that care is exclusively a personal responsibility, instead reinforcing the notion that care is a societal issue that demands systemic solutions.

TO WRAP UP...

Gen Z’ers: Join your Gen Z Peers in Pledging to Care.

Sign for everyone who has cared for you. Sign for the caregivers who have endured the status quo and have yet to receive the support they’ve long advocated for. Sign for women of color, who continue to bear the brunt of our country’s caregiving crisis. 

 

Sign as an investment in your own future. Sign so that insufficient care systems don’t disrupt our generation’s collective path to addressing the crises we’ve grown up around—from a burning planet to systemic racism and white supremacy. 


Not Gen Z? Sign to signal to Gen Z the urgent need to activate around care.

Sign to express that our country’s status quo around caregiving is unsustainable in its current state. Sign to tell Gen Z that employers will listen if they speak up about care, and that their energy and organizing power will make a difference. Think about all of the moments you’ve needed more support as a caregiver. Sign for yourself.

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