Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director, MomsRising.org, On President Obama’s Jobs Proposal
September 15, 2011
The jobs plan that President Obama presented to Congress and the nation last week, and further discussed in a Rose Garden news conference this week, comes at a critical time for our nation’s moms and their families. The data released this week by the Census Bureau underscores how badly U.S. families need Congress and the President to come together to put our country back to work and jump start the stalled economic recovery.
The Census Bureau report shows that women’s economic status has declined sharply, with poverty rates for U.S. women at the highest levels in nearly two decades. According to the Census Bureau, more than one in seven women is living in poverty and 7.5 million women are struggling to survive on an income that is below half of the federal poverty line.
The President’s plan could help to end this disturbing trend. First of all, it will extend emergency unemployment benefits, so that people who are desperately looking for jobs don’t fall even further behind. Nearly half of all unemployed women are long-term unemployed.
It will also help stabilize the job market, by helping struggling state and local government avoid laying off more workers, including teachers, police, firefighters and other public safety workers and first responders. This measure will also preserve crucial city and government services that families rely on.
The funding the President proposes to rebuild the nation’s physical infrastructure, includes money for outreach and training to ensure that women are among those given the opportunity to apply for and get construction and infrastructure jobs that can help them climb back up the economic ladder. This is particularly important because women have traditionally been underrepresented in these lucrative fields and since the end of the recession have been losing these types of jobs.
Women comprise nearly half of the entire paid labor force for the first time in history, yet the wage gap between women and men has remained stagnant, poverty rates have skyrocketed, and the number of women who don't have health insurance has increased. In order to have a healthy economy and nation, we need to address the rising poverty that women and families are facing. We need Congress to act on the President’s plan. After all, our nation didn't become strong by putting women and families last.
Families’ economic security hangs in the balance.