“If we don’t take advantage of these opportunities, build a more inclusive economy, and create more opportunities for equity across all industries, we risk falling behind the rest of the world, especially if we fail to support bringing more women into the workforce.” -Deputy Secretary Graves
Last week, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted U.S. Commerce Department Deputy Secretary Don Graves for a fireside chat focused on women in the workforce. BPC Board Member Karen Dunn Kelley, also former commerce deputy secretary under the Trump Administration, opened the conversation. “It is essential that we find policies that work for businesses and families and that can maintain durable bipartisan support,” said Kelley, as she noted the common goals across administrations.
In his conversation with BPC’s Adrienne Schweer, Deputy Secretary Graves highlighted several efforts by the Commerce Department aimed at supporting working women and families as a tool to grow the economy. Key initiatives include better access to high-speed internet, training programs that include wrap-around services like child care, and programs to promote women in STEM careers. For example, the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act provides more than $50 billion for the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem, and Deputy Secretary Graves emphasized that those resources must support the industry more broadly and ensure a more diversified workforce.
As a recent BPC-Morning Consult poll showed policies such as paid leave, child care, and flexibility at work would have outsized positive impacts on working moms. For example, 53% of working mothers say they would be more likely to stay in the workforce if they had access to a paid family leave benefit.
A complete recording of this event is available here. Relevant BPC resources include:
- Reforming FMLA to Expand Employee Coverage and Reduce Employer Burdens
- Paid Family Leave Across OECD Countries
- State Paid Family Leave Laws Across the U.S.
- Menu of Options to Enhance the 45S Employer Credit
- BPC – Morning Consult: 1 in 5 Moms Experience Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
- Mothers in the Workforce: Takeaways from BPC-Morning Consult Poll
- Four Charts on the Challenges of Single Working Moms
- Moms Working in Health Care Face Major Challenges
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