Washington, DC — In the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Wal-Mart employment discrimination case, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) today introduced the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act, which would provide women with a pathway to higher paying job fields in which they are currently underrepresented.
“If working women are to have an equal opportunity to obtain higher paying employment, we need to confront and end discrimination, as well as increase access to quality job training opportunities,” said Polis. “The Women WIN Jobs Act is about offering women a chance at jobs that pay enough to support a family, offer them independence, and are more fulfilling. No one should be left behind in our economic recovery, and with this bill, we can ensure that women lead it.”
“Women are a crucial part of our country’s workforce, but many are overrepresented on the bottom rung of the pay ladder,” added Mikulski. “The Women WIN Jobs Act will help us grow and diversify our innovation economy by recruiting and training hard-working women for industries where they make up less than a quarter of the workforce. Putting women on the path to economic success helps families and businesses succeed by building the highly skilled workforce of tomorrow.”
“This legislation will give women the tools and opportunities they need to reach their highest potential, benefitting their families and our economy,” said DeLauro. “It has been said that our greatest national resource is our people, and that includes women– too many talented women in this country are stuck in low-paying jobs with no prospects for advancement. The Women WIN Jobs Act will change that, enabling women to advance and succeed, especially in this tough economy.”
“This is a great step for women,” Gillibrand said. “Currently, women make up only 25 percent of the workforce in the high tech and advanced manufacturing fields. The Women WIN Jobs Act will help recruit, train and place more women into these important nontraditional high-wage jobs. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to support this legislation.”
“Today women comprise half the workforce and earn more than half of college degrees, and families are relying more and more on women’s earnings,” added Moore. “Yet, women workers remain concentrated into certain, low-paying professions. This important legislation will help women gain training for good, family-supporting jobs in fields traditionally dominated by men.”
Women represent half of our nation’s workforce yet are too often relegated to the lowest compensated sectors of paid work. More than half of all working women are employed in 5 percent of occupational categories, most of which are among the lowest paid, except for teaching and nursing. Fields that employ the fewest women actually pay 20 to 30 percent more than predominantly female fields. For example, women make up 73.7 percent of cashiers, whose hourly wage averages $9.52, but only 1.5 percent of electricians, who average $24.91 per hour.
To address this gender inequity, the Women WIN Jobs Act will help recruit, prepare, place and retain women in high-demand, high-wage nontraditional jobs. Through a new federal grant program that will support innovative partnerships in each and every state, this bill will enable women to become self-sufficient and earn more while simultaneously boosting our nation’s economy. Employers in several industries are facing severe shortages of skilled workers to fill the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs of the future – from information technology and the building trades, to renewable energy and energy efficiency.