Benefits & Resources

October 17, 2023 A DGA Women's Steering Committee Meeting Panel Discussion

On Tuesday, October 17, ahead of their online meeting, the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC) hosted the discussion, Benefits & Resources. WSC Co-Chair Shawn Pipkin-West moderated a conversation with Better Life Lab @ New America Senior Fellow: Paid Leave, Gender Equity & Care Police & Strategy, Vicki Shabo and National Employment Law Project Senior Staff Attorney Jenna Gerry, advocates for state and federal benefits (parental/family/disability and sick leave), as well as unemployment insurance.

The panelists shared information about the resources and benefits that many of our members are entitled to in precarious times; they defined paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance and other protections.

Shabo stated that the United States is one of the few high-wealth countries without federal paid leave for maternity, paternity and paid sick leave. They described some of the state leave programs specifically in California and New York where many of our members reside. Gerry provided an overview of the history of unemployment insurance and the inequities originally built into the program. She reminded the group that unemployment insurance was a lifeline during the pandemic keeping 4.7 million Americans out of poverty in 2021. They stressed that goal is to achieve federal policies regarding leave for workers and reform of the programs to improve equity for all workers.

The panelists ended the presentation by reminding our members that storytelling can drive change around these issues, adding that our members play a crucial role in contributing to the national narrative around managing work interruptions and care.

See video from this conversation in the gallery below.


The Women's Steering Committee (WSC) was created to advance the professional interests of its members, and to heighten their visibility and career opportunities in the entertainment industry. The WSC currently promotes diversity through sponsoring net-working events, screenings and seminars, and fosters relationships between the members to provide support, mentoring and networking opportunities. The WSC’s current Co-Chairs are Shaz Bennett, Valerie Weiss and Shawn Pipkin-West.

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