Two advisers in President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday urged women to return to the labor market as quickly as possible.
Council of Economic Advisers member Heather Boushey said vaccine distribution is a top priority for schools and childcare centers to reopen safely, which will play a vital role in women going back to the labor force.
“What we see in the decline in women’s employment is the fact that they are responsible for their children,” she said during a White House news conference where she emphasized the administration’s focus on “care economy.”
“Women are a key part of the middle class. He [Biden] has been very clear on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” she said.
The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse cited gender and race differences in the labor market.
“Women working full-time year around are typically paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men,” she said. “Because of this gender gap, women lose thousands of dollars each year and over a lifetime. The disparities are greater for Black and Hispanic women who earn 63 cents and 55 cents [respectively] for every dollar that a white man earns.”
Rouse also noted that Black women must work 19 months to earn what a white man earns in 12 months, adding that is almost 22 months for Hispanic women.
She urged Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which she called “an important step to end discrimination through transparency and accountability for employers.”
The Act aims to provide paid family and medical leave, make childcare more affordable and train women to access higher paying jobs, in addition to raising pay for childcare workers and preschool teachers, Rouse added.