Below is a statement of Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on the announcement of the American Families Plan:
“The American Families Plan announced by President Biden today is a historic groundbreaking and transformative set of measures that will empower women, children, and families—especially low-income families and women of color. It will not only lift millions of people out of poverty, it will expand the middle class. Feminists have been advocating and working for a federal paid leave program as well as early childhood development programs for decades. This plan maps out a sustainable path to make paid family leave a reality for everyone, but especially for those who need it most.
The pandemic has cast a light on the harsh reality that many women, especially women of color, are essential workers who make low wages and cannot afford to pay for childcare or elder care. If they cannot continue in the workforce, they cannot even adequately feed their families. To say this is an impossible choice is an understatement. This plan will in fact dramatically reduce child hunger by increasing access to healthy meals in schools nationwide. Not only will it reduce hunger, it will create new opportunities by providing all three and four-year-old children with free pre-school education and at the other end free community college for young adults. To provide for this expanded education, Biden’s plan also works to reduce teacher shortages and to improve teacher training.
I’m so impressed by the breadth of this plan, and its commitment to inclusivity is remarkable and exemplary. The details of this plan are staggering. For example, it ensures that low- and middle- income families will pay no more than 7% of their income on high quality childcare, saving the average family $14,800 per year on childcare expenses. That alone will allow one million women to enter the labor force and to help fuel the economic recovery of the country.
This is an investment in people, especially women, in education, nutrition, healthcare, and a dramatic reduction in poverty. We celebrate this visionary plan and look forward to its introduction in Congress. The Feminist Majority Foundation not only endorses this plan but will work tirelessly to help make it possible.”###