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Brief # 93 Health and Gender Policy

The Biden Agenda for Women Series Part 1: Improving Economic Security for Women

A new USRESIST NEWS series that explores the proposed gender related policies of the new Biden administration

By Erin McNemar

January 26, 2021

Policy  

In March of 2020, President Joe Biden committed to selecting a female running mate. Five months later, he fulfilled that promise by tapping Vice President Kamala Harris for the position. This historic decision meant that women’s rights would be a priority issue for the next four years.

In December, Biden released a policy proposal entitled “The Biden Agenda for Women.” The plan begins by outlining Biden’s belief that “his daughter is entitled to the same rights and opportunities as his sons.” In many policy areas however, women are disproportionately affected. Therefore, the Biden plan focuses on improving and protecting women’s rights in several key areas. This first area of focus outlined in the plan is improving economic security for women.

Analysis

The gender wealth gap has been a standing issue for decades. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, working women make 81.6 cents for every dollar that a man makes. In addition, the data also shows that women’s median annual earnings were $9,766 less than men’s. The numbers are even worse for women of color.

In his plan, Biden identifies the Lilly Ledbetter Act Fair Pay Act. According to Biden, this was the first piece of legislation enacted during the Obama-Biden Administration. The policy helped ensure fair pay for all Americans; narrowing the pay gap and attempting to boost economic productivity. As President, Biden said he would continue to make the closing to pay gap a priority as well as ending paycheck discrimination.

While he continues to support the efforts of the Lilly Ledbetter Act Fair Pay Act, he understands that there is more work to be done. For this reason, Biden states in his plan he supports the Paycheck Fairness Act proposed by Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman DeLauro. According to Biden, this policy will expand on protections for female workers regarding paychecks and retaliation. Additionally, Biden plans to make wage gaps transparent, level the playing field for negotiation and make it easier for women to unionize and collectively bargain. Biden also includes in his plan expanding pay in jobs that are disproportionately filled by women.

In addition to equitable pay, Biden identifies the importance of investing in women-owned small businesses. “Women start businesses at two times the rate of men and now represent 42% of the nation’s businesses. But, they still raise much less capital — with only about 2% of all venture capital funds going to women-owned businesses — and are more likely to rely on personal funds,” Biden writes in the plan. For this reason, Biden has pledged direct federal funding for women-own businesses as well as doubling funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative; an Obama-Biden era program.

The economic section of the plan also highlights efforts to end workplace discrimination and harassment, expanding access to education and training and finally ensuring safety on college campuses.

Engagement Resources

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