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Feminist News


March-15-10

Legislation Introduced to Expand Women's Access to Higher-Paying Jobs

Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act late last week. The bill has more than 40 cosponsors and is intended to "promote the economic self-sufficiency of low-income women through their increased participation in high-wage, high-demand occupations where they currently represent 25 percent or less of the workforce."

In a press release, Congressman Polis said, "For far too long, women have been under-represented in higher-paying jobs as a result of inadequate training, stereotypes, and lack of information...As our nation works to rebuild the economy, it is essential that we take action today against gender inequity in the workforce and promote diversity and equal opportunity."

Despite the fact that women are now half of the US workforce, two-thirds are working in only 5 percent of "occupational categories", which are, except for teaching and nursing, among the lowest paid occupations. Concurrently, there is also a severe shortage of skilled workers in fields ranging from information technology to manufacturing, where women hold a very small percentage of jobs. In the press release, Congresswoman DeLauro said, "Our efforts will open doors, enabling our nations women to better their lives, their families, and ultimately, our workforce as a whole."

According to a fact sheet (see PDF) released by Congressman Polis, the bill would create a new federal grant program that would authorize "up to $100 million for recruiting, training, placing and retaining women in occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency" and "requires grantees to conduct public education and outreach, provide career guidance and counseling, conduct individual assessments, [and] assist participants to access postsecondary and apprenticeship programs," among other functions.

Media Resources: Polis and DeLauro Press Release 3/11/10; US HR 4830; Polis Fact Sheet on HR 4830