Skip to main content

Economic Opportunity

Women deserve economic opportunity, security, and policies that recognize the demands of work and family.

Women and families can’t afford to wait any longer for equal pay. Despite being breadwinners in most families with children, women who work full time, year-round still only make 82 cents on the dollar for men’s earnings. For women of color it is even less. Black women make only 63 cents, Latinas make 55 cents, and Native women make 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men. While Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women make 85 cents for every dollar paid to white men, many AAPI communities experience drastically wider pay gaps. Close to two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and women are far more likely than men to hold low-wage jobs. Although women are nearly half the U.S. workforce, they make up only a small percentage of employees in the skilled trades and other non-traditional occupations. Women’s lower wages also exacerbate the student loan crisis, with women holding two-thirds of outstanding student debt. In addition, just 20  percent of the workforce has paid family leave, just 40 percent of workers have access to paid personal medical leave, and more than one in four private-sector workers does not have a single paid sick day. Women still face pregnancy discrimination and are forced out of a job or denied reasonable accommodations. And high-quality child care, essential for children to learn in safe, nurturing environments while parents work, is increasingly unaffordable. Moreover, the child care workers providing this essential public good – most of whom are women, and disproportionately women of color and immigrant women – earn poverty level wages, undermining their economic security. These issues are interrelated, with pay discrimination and barriers to economic opportunity jeopardizing women’s ability to access the health care they need, afford child care, or reach their full potential. 

  • Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7)
    Women working full-time, year-round still face, on average, an annual wage gap of over $10,100. The Paycheck Fairness Act will help ensure equal pay and families’ economic security by breaking patterns of discrimination and strengthening the Equal Pay Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House of Representatives April 15, 2021.
  • Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065)
    Sixty-two percent of pregnant women and new moms are in the workforce, yet pregnant workers can be placed on unpaid leave or forced out of their job when they need a simple accommodation. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would address legal ambiguities and help ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act passed the House of Representatives May 14, 2021.
  •  Child Care for Working Families Act (H.R. 2817)
    Too many families do not have access to high-quality early learning and care that will help their children thrive without breaking the bank. The Child Care for Working Families Act would address the current early learning and care crisis by making child care more affordable, increasing pay for workers, and facilitating more high-quality providers.
  • FAMILY Act (H.R. 804)
    More than 100 million people lack paid family leave through their jobs, and 60 percent of workers cannot access medical leave insurance through their employers. The FAMILY Act would build a strong and comprehensive national family and medical leave insurance program that provides cash benefits to working families with significant caregiving and medical needs.
  • Healthy Families Act (H.R. 2465)
    More than 30 million workers lack access to paid sick days, forcing them to choose between earning a paycheck and caring for their health. The Healthy Families Act would create a strong national paid sick days standard that will boost families’ financial stability and lower health care costs.
  • Raise the Wage Act (H.R.603)
    Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been just $7.25 per hour, not nearly enough to live on. Since 1991, the federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers has been just $2.13 per hour. By raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, the Raise the Wage Act will give 33.5 million Americans a pay increase, including one in four women workers. 

  • Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Employees Act (H.R. 564)
    Federal employees are among those who do not have paid family and medical leave, forced to choose between a paycheck and their caregiving responsibilities or addressing their own personal health issues. The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act would ensure that the nation’s largest employer, the federal government, offers comprehensive paid leave. Paid parental leave for federal employees and Congressional staff was signed into law as part of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act.

  • Expanding Access to Good-Paying Jobs through Education and Training
    Women are nearly half the U.S. workforce, but make up only a small percentage of employees in the skilled trades and other non-traditional occupations. Women experience occupational segregation, often steered toward low-paying and female-dominated jobs that further the cycle of poverty. By increasing access to job training and education programs for women – especially for low-income women of color – we can increase wages and participation in the workforce.

  • Equality for our Nation’s Athletes
    Female athletes are paid significantly less than their male counterparts despite performing the same or even better work. Despite the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s success, U.S. Soccer pays the Women’s National Team as little as 38 cents on the dollar compared to the Men’s National Team. Our athletes deserve equal pay for equal work, and equity across investment and workplace conditions.