Why I’m Determined to Make Women’s Plaza a Reality

When my children were very young I was working full time as a child therapist, serving low income families here in Portland. While I tended to the social and emotional development of over 200 children, while I held other peoples’ babies, and played with other people’s toddlers; I was separated from my own children for a period of at least ten hours a day – missing those incredible milestones and tender moments.

 I went through the hell of pumping, postpartum depression, exhaustion, sleep deprivation and feelings of isolation – challenges many other working mothers face every day.

 I was supposed to be modeling work-life balance for all the families that I cared for – and who faced many more problems than I did – but I couldn’t. I quickly learned that many of my women colleagues couldn’t either. I became consumed with questions like: How am I supposed to help others if I cannot even help myself? How can I address this challenge? How can we offer women a holistic solution to work-life balance? What systems perpetuate this DYSFUNCTIONAL reality?

 I Realized the System Needs to Change

Here are some facts that highlight this problem. This is a systems issue and it is not a women’s issue (we are not to blame for this situation),and has been in place for many generations:

  • Working mothers suffer discrimination all over the world.
  • We have no paid leave for parents in the United States, we are one of only 4 of 167 countries in the world with no paid leave policy for parents.
  • There is no affordable quality child care for families.
  • Working mothers earn 60 cents of a father’s dollar.
  • Mothers do 40% more childcare and about 30% more housework than fathers.
  • 43% of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers or “off-ramping” for a period of time.
  • There is a world-wide held assumption that raising children is women’s responsibility.

No longer satisfied with this dysfunctional status-quo, I couldn’t sit back and wait for others to address these systemic problems. I had to start that change. So I envisioned Women’s Plaza. I never want to see another woman experiencing what I experienced. I don’t want to watch anymore women having to choose between career and family. Please join me in this empowering dream.

Glaucia Martin-Porath – Chief Empowerment Officer


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