After 90 years, the Bureau is continuing its mission and working for change. Today, our vision is to empower all working women to achieve economic security by preparing them for high paying jobs, ensuring fair compensation, promoting workplace flexibility & helping homeless women veterans reintegrate into the workforce.
Pay equity is not just a woman's issue - it is a family issue, as well as a nation's economic issue. Almost 50 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, a stubborn wage gap continues to impact women's pay. On average, women who work full time earn only about 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. The gap is even larger for African American women who earn just 69 cents and Hispanic women who earn just 60 cents for each dollar that white men earn. The Women's Bureau, a member of President Obama's Equal Pay Taskforce, is committed to ensuring equal pay for all working women.
The labor force has changed significantly during the last few decades including the increase in the number of working women and working families. The demands of work and personal life, including family care giving and personal health or education, require that employers adapt to the changing needs of its workers. Policies that support the realities of work and life balance are critical to our economy. Promoting work-life balance, improving women's working conditions, including the ability to retain employment while caring for families is essential for a strong, healthy economy and nation.
Many jobs in the skilled trades, the green sector and other nontraditional industries for women, including STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) can be lucrative and are pathways for women and their families to remain or move into middle-class status. The Secretary's vision of good jobs for everyone includes jobs that are sustainable and innovative, such as green jobs, providing opportunities to acquire the skills and knowledge for the jobs of the future.
The number of women serving in our Armed Forces is steadily rising. Currently there are 1.8 million women veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and approximately 7,000 are women. One of the Women's Bureau's four strategic priorities is helping homeless women veterans find a path to good jobs and financial security.