Tomorrow, the White House Council on Women and Girls, together with the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute and Civic Nation, is convening the first United State of Women Summit, a large-scale effort to rally together advocates of gender equality to highlight what we’ve achieved, identify the challenges that remain, and chart the course for addressing them. Experts, advocates, and grassroots and business leaders who work in both domestic and international arenas will gather to highlight key issues affecting women and girls and best practices to carry on into the future.
Providing the business perspective on paid sick days and paid family leave, Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream with seven locations throughout Seattle, will share her experience having both policies on the books before and after Seattle passed a citywide paid sick days ordinance. Molly has 140 employees during the peak season and has rapidly grown her business while remaining committed to policies that put her employees and her community first.
”If lawmakers want to understand the impact of passing legislation like paid sick days and paid family leave they should look to the small business owners with policies already in place. Decision makers don’t often come to me for the answers, so I take my story and analysis to them,” says Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle and founding member of the Main Street Alliance of Washington. “When small business owners tell our personal stories and advocate for ourselves, we can ensure that we are the ones speaking for us.”
Speaking on the gender-based pay gap from a small business point of view, ReShonda Young, owner of Popcorn Heaven in Waterloo, Iowa, will share her experience working for her father’s business and eventually going into business for herself. ReShonda has experienced first-hand the impacts of unequal pay and has seen the positive impact of correcting inequities and committing to pay fairness.
“While working for my father’s business, I saw the pay gap first hand and recognized the need to challenge the status quo. At my urging, my father leveled out his salary structure, and we saw a boost in morale, and the loyalty and commitment of his staff members grew stronger,” says ReShonda Young, owner of Popcorn Heaven in Waterloo, Iowa and Main Street Alliance Executive Committee Member. “When I went into business for myself, I vowed to get it right the first time–ensuring that my female employees felt every bit as valued as the men working next to them.”
ReShonda and Molly will be joined by Main Street Alliance of Vermont member Jennifer Kimmich, owner of Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vermont, Main Street Alliance of Oregon member Sabrina Parsons, owner of Palo Alto Software in Eugene, Oregon and Main Street Alliance of New Jersey member Samia Bahsoun, owner of Capwave Technologies in Asbury Park, New Jersey.