Nearly 3 million U.S. women have dropped out the labor force


Not long after Donald Trump arrived at the White House, he disbanded and office that focused on challenges affecting women. President Biden is now resurrecting it. Women's rights groups hope this will help them make progress on things like paid family leave and affordable child care. Here's NPR's Melissa Block. The wish list on Biden's agenda for women is long restoring an expanding reproductive rights, combating gender based violence, reducing maternal mortality, and he's pitched a slew of economic proposals. Major structural disruption requires major structural change. And I feel like thinking big right now is exactly what we need to do. So now is the time That's the co chair of the Biden administration's new gender Policy Council. Jennifer Klein. You know we're seeing because of the health pandemic because of the economic crisis, and, in fact, take care giving crisis that's been layered on top of it. These are core issues core issues, Klein points out that air hitting women hard and especially women of color. Just look at the most recent jobs numbers. In December, women accounted for all 140,000 of the country's net lost jobs. One factor behind that, with so many schools and day care centers closed because of the coronavirus. Many women have had to drop out of the labor force. That's been disastrous, says Joan Williams, director of the Center for Work Life Law at the University of California, Hastings. Mother's already We're at the breaking point in the United States. I mean, we already had a choc your system that was basically a Rube Goldberg machine and the coronavirus brought that machine crashing down. Williams says. What she wants the Biden administration to do is to recognize that Just as we don't expect workers to get to work without physical infrastructure like bridges and roads. We can't expect workers to get to work without a care infrastructure. What would that care Infrastructure look like for Williams? That would mean subsidized neighborhood based child care, paid family leave Universal, pre K and $15 an hour minimum wage, especially during the pandemic. Single moms have had to choose between putting food on the table and leaving young Children home alone. Now. Part of the reason is because the minimum wages so low that there is no way on God's green Earth that those moms can pay for childcare. The paid caregivers are also reeling from the crunch. President Biden highlighted this when he announced his covert 19 relief plan last month. Let's make sure caregivers mostly women, women of color immigrants. Have the same pay indignity that they deserve. Advocates like I Jen poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, are heartened by what they're hearing from Biden. Her group represents workers, including nannies, home care workers and housekeepers, actually focusing on how we're going to make Thies jobs, good jobs for the 21st century. That you can take pride in and earn a living wage with benefits. That is a really big breakthrough. Conservatives, though, are leery of an agenda that carries a hefty price tag and they warn, will lead to crushing government regulations. Charmaine Yost is vice president of the Institute for Family Community and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation. My biggest concern is that all of the proposals that I'm hearing coming from their side of things inevitably seem to come back to big government intervention in government programs. As for raising the minimum wage in the midst of a pandemic, when many businesses are suffering so badly if there were a time that you could create, that would be the perfect time to not Raise the minimum wage. This would be it with such a slim Democratic majority in Congress. Biden's agenda could have a tough time gaining traction. But Fatima Goss Graves, who heads the National Women's Law Center, is undaunted. Her group has issued an ambitious list of 100 demands for Biden's 1st 100 days. Basically, what we're asking this administration and Congress to do is effectively walk into gum. We need them to both undo things that have been harmful and have been Holding this country back and launch us forward in a way that we're stronger for it, Graves adds. This president doesn't have the luxury of coasting in Melissa Block NPR news

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