The Biden Harris Administration recently released a statement analyzing how the American Jobs Plan will positively impact women’s employment.
Beginning with an acknowledgement of how the last year saw 3.7 million less women working, the Biden Harris administration recently released a statement discussing their efforts to fight against this trend. Since the onset of COVID, many women have taken on more difficult job conditions, while also being responsible for caregiving responsibilities. Discrimination and hardships plague women, especially women of color, as they try to participate in the workforce. Covid-19 has made this situation even worse, and solving this is key to economic recovery.
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is a public investment intended to create new jobs, rebuild the country’s infrastructure, and uphold a competitive economy. The statement breaks down how this will impact women’s role in the labor force into four parts.
First on the List: Addressing issues within schools and care facilities
The American Jobs Plan invests $100 billion to update and build new public schools. The primary focus of these funds will go toward ensuring safe and healthy school environments. Lots of child-care centers and schools are run-down and unsafe. This issue disproportionately impacts students of color and low-income students, robbing them of the opportunities afforded to white, upper-class students who have access to safe buildings.
New and updated child care facilities will be distributed to high need areas. Lack of access to child care predominantly affects mothers, and acts as a hurdle for them in joining the workforce. Further, fixing and upgrading the assets to transportation will aid in overcoming the barrier of getting to work.
Additionally, President Biden plans to eradicate all lead pipes in the country, in order to protect the health and safety in communities, particularly those of color that are the most affected by this issue. Another hurdle that disproportionately affects communities of color is access to home broadband internet, another issue the plan will tackle. This has been particularly apparent during the pandemic, as many jobs and schools went online.
Next Up: Fortifying the care economy
Utilizing the American Jobs Plan, President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $400 billion in expanding access to quality care for the elderly and those with disabilities. The plan itself will expand access to long-term care services under medicaid, including both home and community-based programs(HCBS). Further, the plan will extend the Money Follows the Person program, which assists innovations that support long-term care.
Historically, caregiver jobs have been undervalued and underpaid, and the expansion of HCBS under medicaid will facilitate well-paying care jobs that have benefits, the ability to bargain and building state infrastructure in order to upgrade the quality of services and support workers.
Expanding economic opportunities for women
The American Jobs Plan also includes a $10 billion dollar investment dedicated to ensuring the rights, safety and health of working women. This includes ensuring equal pay, healthy work spaces, and protection against racial and gender discrimination and harassment. President Biden is also using this act to call for increased penalties when workers violate workplace rules that pertain to safety and health.
The plan also calls on congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would allow workers a fair and free opportunity to join a union. The plan also guarantees domestic workers legal benefits and protections, while also dealing with pay inequities influenced by gender discrimination.
Further, the plan includes enacting equitable workplace development programs, including apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that teach women the skills to succeed. Creating new career pathways for women is also mentioned. Specifically, those that will increase gender equality in STEM fields and those that can be implemented with programs offered to middle and high school students. In general, eliminating the gender and racial biases that affect women’s participation in STEM fields is heralded in the plan as vital to the economic effects of these fields.
Allocating support for those who have had to exit the workforce due to the pandemic, who are looking to reenter, is another factor included. President Biden has included programs to assist those who were formerly incarcerated with reentering the labor force and promoting violence prevention programs.
The final piece to this section of the plan is to aid women and minority owned small businesses. The act itself creates a grant program that will help businesses owned by minorities gain access to private capital and the act invests in the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program and Small Business Investment Company program.
Community investments in health and safety
The final section of the statement highlights how the plan intends to protect communities health and safety. Starting with the enactment of violence prevention programs, the plan invests $5 billion over the span of 8 years into this issue. As a means of circumventing violence, these programs will assist at-risk individuals in attaining jobs and will serve to support victims.
The housing crisis, affecting women of color more than other demographics, has a strong economic impact. Affordable housing offerings for underserved communities is part of the plans proposed solution.