Dina Bakst is Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance (ABB), a national nonprofit legal advocacy organization that leverages the power of the law to advance justice for workers, so they can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security.
Since 2006, Bakst has co-led A Better Balance’s pioneering efforts to combat pregnancy and caregiver discrimination and advance fair and supportive workplace legislation such as paid sick time and paid family and medical leave in over 40 states and localities. In 2012, Bakst’s op-ed in The New York Times— “Pregnant and Pushed Out of Job”—inspired the introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Bakst testified before the House Education and Labor Committee in support of the legislation in 2019, and again in 2021. At the end of 2022, following a decade-long movement led by A Better Balance, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was signed into law.
Bakst’s work successfully enforcing pregnancy discrimination laws has been featured multiple times in The New York Times, including two front page stories, as well as other leading publications. She also played an instrumental role in the first pregnancy accommodation class action litigation against Walmart, which recently settled for $14 million dollars and benefited thousands of pregnant workers.
Bakst was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for the Economy for A Better Balance’s successful work advancing work-family justice in 2021, and the first-ever Visionary Women Award for Women’s Economic Empowerment in 2022. In 2020, she was named one of “16 People and Groups Fighting For a More Equal America” by Time Magazine. And in 2015, she was awarded the Edith I. Spivack Award, named for the woman who was a pioneering lawyer and role model for generations of women, for her work championing women’s rights. Bakst was also appointed as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School in 2021 and is co-author of the award-winning book Babygate: How to Survive Pregnancy and Parenting in the American Workplace, a national know your rights guide for expecting and new parents.
Prior to co-founding A Better Balance, Dina was an attorney with the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund (now Legal Momentum) where she pursued litigation and policy advocacy on a wide range of women’s rights issues. Dina is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan. She also served as a labor/employment associate with Kaye, Scholer LLP. In addition to leading A Better Balance, Dina is a Board Member of Congregation Rodeph Sholom and the Hadassah Foundation.
Read Dina’s full interview in the Ford Foundation’s Future Is Hers series here.