Policy Spotlight: International Women’s Day, Supporting Women in the Workplace
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and the 71% of our clients in 2020 who identified as women! Our daily inspiration, they reduced their debt by $3.6 million in the face of historical health and economic challenges throughout the year.
2021’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge: “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.”
We choose to challenge the financial status quo of women and especially women of color who have been hit the hardest by pandemic job losses in the U.S. The urgency of their situation is hard to exaggerate. “The consequences for women could take years to recover from, and we don’t have years to wait,” says Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Total employment for Black women is 9.7% lower than it was a year ago, with Hispanic women close behind at 8.6% lower, compared to employment for white men, white women, and Black men which are down 5%, 5.4% and 5.9% since February 2020.
Without urgent and long-term action to solve for child care and strengthen work-family policies, U.S. economic growth and progress toward gender equity will suffer. The $39 billion in child care relief funding in the American Rescue Plan, including $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program and $24 billion for a child care stabilization fund, is a good starting point.
Women are a global engine for economic growth. Policies to support women in the workforce including health- and child-care are vital for the future of our economy. In the U.S., an increase in female labor force participation could add $5.87 trillion to global market capitalization over the next 10 years according to S&P Global, who suggests that “the financial future truly is female — and that women are increasingly a market force with the power to shape economic trends worldwide.”
Now, that’s something worth celebrating!