Equity in New Job Programs
To President-Elect Obama: We applaud your intention to establish a sizeable and productive program that will help to stimulate the economy, and that will provide improved infrastructure for the country. However, we are concerned that, unless specific steps are taken, your program will provide jobs almost exclusively for men. Women are 46 percent of the labor force. Their unemployment rate is rising with that of men. Moreover, many millions of women are raising children without a husband or partner, and unemployment for them will mean great deprivation, and possible homelessness, for them and their children. We suggest three lines of action that will insure that women get a fair share of the benefits from your program: 1. Revive and enforce the Labor Department regulations that require government contractors to institute affirmative action plans that provide a share of the jobs for women and minorities. Closely monitor the contractors for compliance. 2. In connection with the infrastructure projects, institute apprenticeships, and ensure that at least one third of the positions go to women. 3. Add projects in health, child care, education, social service that will both provide jobs to women, and also provide needed services to them.