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Ways and Means’ Working Women Wednesday

On this Working Women Wednesday, Ways and Means Racial Equity Initiative Co-Chair Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) reminds us that working women of color are especially vulnerable when a crisis inevitably strikes. Compared to white workers, Latina workers are 66 percent less likely, Black workers are 83 percent less likely, and Native American, Pacific Islander and multiracial workers are 100 percent less likely to be able to take leave from work when needed.

When women are forced to choose between their own health or the health of a loved one and their paycheck, everyone loses. These unthinkable decisions lead to worse health outcomes and more economic insecurity. The House-passed paid family and medical leave program would extend this crucial lifeline to 77 percent of workers whose employers don’t provide paid family leave, and the 60 percent of workers whose employers don’t provide paid medical leave.

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“The reality is that your testimony, all of your testimony, is so critically important because it becomes a part of the record of the Ways and Means Committee about how we as women can benefit from better policies. When women succeed, everyone succeeds. We are the rock of our communities.”

“All of us in this room will face family crisis. This is not about whether or not, you know, you will face a family crisis. You will. But we are disproportionately—we all don’t have the same resources to bounce back. We all don’t have the same abilities to actually weather the storm. And so, this is not about a handout. It’s about a hand up. It’s about an acknowledgment that this country, the best, the richest, most powerful country in the world, can do something to help every family, every family, by providing paid family leave.”

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