Welcome to the Blog for the Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative that advocates for women’s economic well-being and leadership in order to achieve, and possibly exceed, the policy goals for American women that are documented and adopted in the 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform.
Women's Economic Empowerment
Team Leader: Carol Moore
Contact: [email protected]
On August 24th, Kathy Hochul became the first female governor in New York State history after an abrupt end to the three-term tenure of Governor Andrew Cuomo over sexual harassment allegations. Hochul will serve out the rest of Cuomo’s term, while mounting her own campaign for election as governor in 2022.
Who Is Kathy Hochul? For the past seven years, Hochul has been NYS lieutenant governor. As a native upstate New Yorkers, she was selected by Cuomo during his 2014 bid to gain support from that part of the region. Her job, like those of others before her, was to represent the governor at functions around the State and lead initiatives related to State agenda. In that capacity, Hochul’s policy priorities included the issues of gender and economic inequality. She led a campaign for sexual assault prevention programs on college campuses which gained her recognition as a champion of women’s issues. Her past record also shows a strong commitment to issues like minimum wage, paid family leave, affordable housing, and clean energy. While her position on some issues, including immigration has been a mixed bag, Hochul’s ascension to the executive office is viewed by policymakers and advocates, alike, as a breath of fresh air!
Hochul enters the executive office with many challenges, among them:
--A surge in COVID cases just as schools are set to reopen in September,
--Averting massive evictions among NY households due to high unemployment during COVID,
--Immigration; an issue affecting over 4 million immigrants as well as the region’s economic recovery,
--A subway system in crisis, with a 50% decline in ridership due to COVID,
--Picking a lieutenant governor that makes her a “winnable ticket” in the next primary, and
--Running for Election in 2022.
All tall orders, in a short period of time!
As we celebrate Hochul’s rise to leadership as the first female governor, there’s another “first'' that is worth noting. The New York State legislature will have more women and people of color than ever before in its history. As Hochul governs with this diverse legislature perhaps New York will lead the way in achieving advancements for women and people of color. As democrats abroad, New Yorkers and women, 2022 and beyond looks promising.
The Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative has some updates for you to stay informed on the state of women in leadership.
Despite increases in the number of women at the highest levels of political power, widespread gender inequalities persist, according to the 2021 edition of the IPU–UN Women “Women in politics map”.
Check out the report here
Slow, but Steady Progress on Student Loan Forgiveness
Read the article in the Washington Post here
The Global Women’s Caucus Hosts a Women’s Economic Forum
Here is where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stands on the issues…
- EDUCATION AND CHILDCARE: Make public higher education debt free. Make childcare more affordable and accessible.
- GUNS: Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Make background checks universal.
- SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT: Reform handling of sexual assault in the military and on college campus.
- HEALTH CARE: Move to a universal, government-run health care system.
- CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Overturn Citizens United. Refuse corporate PAC donations.
- CLIMATE CHANGE: Create a cap-and-trade commodity market for carbon emission. Ban new drilling on federal lands.
- IMMIGRATION AND BORDER SECURITY: Eliminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Reform immigration to include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
- SOCIAL ISSUES: Expand abortion access. Establish federal paid family leave. Gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans should be allowed to serve in the military and marry whomever they chose.
Learn more about the Senator and where she stands on issues that matter to you at the GWC’s Women’s Economic Forum on June 26th.
(There is no debate—deciding between work and parenting
Is not an option!)
Gillibrand, DeLauro Introduce Family Act, Urge Congress to Pass Permanent Paid Leave.
On the 28th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Rose DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, their signature legislation to create a permanent, national paid family and medical leave program.
The Act ensures that every worker, regardless of size of employer, or if they are self-employed or part-time, has access to paid leave for serious medical situations when needed. The Act provides up to 66% of wage replacement for 12 weeks, anytime, a worker needs it.
Paid leave for all is an important economic solution for women, and particularly women of color.
Join Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as she discusses this issue and others at the June 26th Women’s Economic Forum.
Professor Linda Scott’s latest article, “Gender Inequality Causes Poverty”, makes the case that gender inequality is one of the major causes of poverty around the world. She contends that specific gender barriers form a complex, interlocking system of economic exclusion that keep women dependent and suffering additional constraints such as domestic violence, food insecurity and inadequate access to healthcare. Her April 13th talk with the GWC showed the strong relationship between rising gender equality and improved national prosperity.
We are pleased to announce the launch of the GWC's Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative.
Expanding leadership and economic opportunities for women, across race and geography, and rooting out systemic biases that shut women out, is a priority for the Global Women’s Caucus and Democrats Abroad overall. Important policy recommendations to address these systemic inequities can be found throughout the 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform from, taxation to wage equality to education.
We must translate these recommendations to action to ensure voters understand the issues and the recommended policy changes. This new initiative will draw attention to, and advocate for, policy recommendations that address systemic inequities and promote equity and fairness for women. We will especially focus on issues impacting women of color, a segment of the American population for whom unjust discriminatory practices and policies throughout history have limited their prosperity and inclusion in arenas of leadership.
We have an opportunity to make the election of a woman to Madam Vice President more than a celebration, but a Call-to-Action on behalf of women at home and abroad. The new Biden-Harris administration believes that equity for women is paramount: it has established a Gender Policy Council; appointed and promoted more women to key cabinet and administrative positions than ever before and passed the American Rescue Plan that will lift millions of women and their families out of poverty. This is a watershed moment for improving women’s economic condition and placement at the tables of leadership, if we want it
To capitalize on a return to Democratic leadership, and with the opportunity of the new White House Gender Policy Council to push for gender equality, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative.
Join us as we capture this moment into a movement. Help us position women’s economic well-being and leadership as a priority area for the Party of democrats, which is the Party of Women!
Dr. Scott: 'Willful traditional thinking’ cements disadvantaged conditions for women; Start the undoing
By Nita Wiggins, Paris France
Had Dr. Linda Scott’s twenty-seven minutes presentation premiered as a film short around the world, shellshocked moviegoers would have run from their cinema seats screaming. The throughline is the economic suffering of women globally, which translates into the pain of families in developed as well as developing countries. The American family suffers, in particular, in this scenario because U.S. mothers are the primary breadwinner in 40% of households.
“There is a lot to be gained because the positives of intervening on behalf of the women’s economy are so great. It’s something that will benefit everybody: male, female, and certainly children, if we can only convince our leadership to get behind it,” said Dr. Scott in mid-April.
According to her research, the U.S. and more than 100 other countries knit a restrictive webbing so tightly around women that the system cannot be random. Dr. Scott lists some of the longstanding historical restrictions on female economic liberty as:
*Barriers to education
*The threat of violence
The time for undoing the knots has arrived.
“It’s really only bigotry and willful traditional thinking that hold us back.”
Economic liberty for all
The author of The Double X Economy says she is actively recruiting change-agents, people who understand the crisis points, who will change their individual actions, and who will pressure their elected officials to untether women from the old economic models. The work is to keep the 70% of men who support women’s economic equality and align them with women who agree over gender-equal pay and financial protections for stay-home wives and mothers, among other concerns.
“It’s not the case that the rich countries had the luxury of freeing their women; it's that freeing their women made them rich. It’s crucial to the economic health of all countries to keep women included and to do so on an equal basis.”
“We need a new political economy that is not tied to difference and insteadfocuses on commonality.”
Women had climbed to 51% of the labor force in the U.S. before the coronavirus pandemic. But over the last year, the economic gains since the 1990s have been in free fall, said Dr. Scott.
“All over the world, we have seen women hurt more than men because they are clustered in particular industries and because they were forced to go back into the home in greater numbers than men.”
For Dr. Scott, the manufacturing industry holds the promise of growth and advancement. The economic gender gap drags down national output and feeds societal scourges, like slavery and violence, she concluded.
“The relationship of women's economic exclusion is causal to poverty, hunger, and conflict,” said Dr. Scott, a guest speaker for the Women’s Economic Well-being and Leadership Initiative on April 13, 2021. “Countries that are not using women are making poor choices in both labor and enterprise. Where women are excluded the most, the countries are poorest, and indeed, they are also the most conflict-ridden, the hungriest, and the most plagued by disease.”
The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment
The full title of the 2020 groundbreaking book is The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment. It concludes with action steps that can be done on a personal level. For example:
- Insist on government forgiveness of student debt because women bear 2/3 of the debt.
- Insist on cancellation of forced arbitration contracts because women have more “points of vulnerability”.
- Insist on transparency in salaries so that women know how their pay compares to male colleagues.
- Publish or post content that reveals women’s exclusion from economic fairness.
Expanding the role of women in an economy is an opportunity to grow the economy, and it in no way diminishes the participation of men, said Dr. Scott. The explanation? In many instances, women are not employed, or they are underemployed. Their development into full participants grows the economy for everyone involved.
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Nita Wiggins is the author of the book Civil Rights Baby: My Story of Race, Sports, and Breaking Barriers in American Journalism. She released Testimony on Economic Lynching in the U.S. in September 2020 to document the practice of choking off advancement in the working life of a person.