Women–particularly women of color–who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 Shecession must be central to our national recovery, and YWCA is heartened to see the inclusion of policies that address our needs, priorities, and concerns centered in the ongoing legislative negotiations.
The Build Back Better Act framework released by the White House today includes important provisions that are essential to women’s economic security. YWCA is particularly pleased to see a historic $400 billion investment for child care and pre-K included in the framework, and hopeful that this will address long-standing child care workforce issues that directly impact YWCA. We are also encouraged to see short-term extensions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit and investments in affordable housing, healthcare coverage, maternal health, community violence prevention, and nutrition programs. Each of these provisions has the potential to benefit the women, families, and communities we serve, and we will carefully evaluate details as they emerge more fully.
However, we are deeply disappointed that the overall federal financial investment in America’s women and families has been cut so significantly, and in ways that undermine their ability to recover economically. Most notably, paid family and medical leave is an essential element of women’s economic security. Eliminating paid leave from this historic legislation misses a critical opportunity to support women and families during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the years of recovery that lie ahead. In addition, we remain concerned that the $40 billion in proposed workforce development investments is inadequate to meet the full scope of need that exists across the country.
Congress and the White House have the opportunity to ensure that this historic legislation more fully meets the needs of women and families. We urge immediate action toward a more robust overall investment in America’s social infrastructure, and in the women who are central to our nation’s economic, family, and community life. When women thrive, America does as well.