20101021

Helping American Women Get Ahead

Dear Friend
Clayton Fernandes,

Even when our economy is strong, it is difficult for women to juggle the demands of a career and a family. And during the tough economic times of the past few years, that juggling has become increasingly challenging for many working mothers. That’s why President Obama has recognized that we can never lose sight of working women and mothers as we fight day after day to climb out of this economic hole.
Women make up nearly 50 percent of the American workforce, and in almost two thirds of American families women are the primary or co-breadwinner. But even in 2010, women only earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, and women are still underrepresented in the highest levels of management.
Since taking office, President Obama’s number one priority has been growing our economy and creating good jobs for all Americans. Many of the policies his Administration has put into place to turn our economy around have been particularly important for women.
Here are just a few of the important steps the Obama Administration has taken to help support women throughout their education and careers:
Train and educate women for quality jobs. The President has focused on opportunities for training and educating all Americans for the jobs of the future. For example, women, who make up the vast majority of nurses and about half of all medical school enrollees, will benefit from the $320 million in healthcare workforce development grants in the Affordable Care Act.
Promote economic expansion and job growth for women. Under the Recovery Act, nearly 12,000 SBA loans have been made to women-owned small businesses, helping to get much needed capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs.
Support working women at home and in their jobs. Through the Recovery Act’s Make Work Pay tax credit, 74 million American women had an average of $600 more in their pocketbooks in 2009. In addition, the President proposed nearly doubling the Child and Dependant Care Tax Credit for middle class Americans. The President is committed to equal pay for women; in fact the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Support women in retirement and between jobs. From July 2008 to August 2010, 6.9 million women and their families were helped by the extension of unemployment insurance. Social Security plays a vital role for retired women who make up 58 percent of all beneficiaries, and President Obama is committed to strengthening and protecting it.
We have a lot of work left to do, but without these policies, millions of American women would have struggled over the past few years. You can learn more about what we’re doing to help American women get ahead here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/women
Unfortunately, many Congressional Republicans have fought us every step of the way – opposing the economic policies that have helped millions of American women survive during the recession and begin to make progress.
Women are a crucial part of the American workforce and our economic recovery, and we must do everything in our power to support them.

Sincerely,
Valerie Jarrett
Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls

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