Employers may boast a slight increase in staff diversity and data may show women gaining ground in male-dominated industries, but according to Tina Tchen, the lawyer spearheading the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund and Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, the surface has barely been scratched.
"We're a lot of years away from gender equality," she said at the 2018 Catalyst Awards Conference, which featured panel discussions with corporate execs on workplaces that empower women.
Tchen dismisses that notion that it's the government's responsibility to advocate for women by passing laws, pointing to its bleak track record.
She recalled her horror when she joined the Obama administration in 2009 and was informed by a White House staffer that government employees are not entitled to paid maternity leave — a situation that she set out to rectify by advocating for all eligible workers to be granted paid family leave. Tchen also fought for the passage of the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits the federal government from asking prospective candidates about prior salaries. The bill was defeated by two votes.