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Black History Month

Alexis Herman

Each February, we celebrate Black History Month, a national celebration of the achievements and contributions of Black Americans to every aspect of American life and culture. The monthlong commemoration, which began as a weeklong observance by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926, was established as Black History Week in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. In 1986, Congress officially designated the month of February as National Black History Month. This year, we had the honor to hear from the 23rd United States Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman – the first African American to head the department – under President Bill Clinton. Alexis Herman was also the youngest person to serve as Director of the Women’s Bureau, appointed by President Jimmy Carter when she was 29 years old. A lifelong advocate for women’s rights and the rights of people of color, Sec. Herman is living Black history and her inspirational message to us this month is a nod to this year’s national theme “Black Resistance” and a rallying cry as we prepare for Women’s History Month in March.

Family and Medical Leave Act Anniversary

30 Years of FMLA

On February 5, we marked 30 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed and signed into law, which provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for eligible employees. To celebrate this landmark legislation that has helped millions of working families in the U.S., Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Gayle Goldin participated in a Department of Labor-wide event highlighting the law’s successes, honoring FMLA champions and looking ahead at ways to make sure workers have leave when they need it and don’t have to choose between work and family.

Paid Leave Webpage

Medical Leave

Everyone needs care, but not everyone has access to paid leave. While momentum is growing for paid leave, there is currently no federal law regarding paid family and medical leave for the private sector, although some states have their own programs and requirements. This month, the Women’s Bureau launched a paid leave microsite which explains the main types of paid leave, current leave laws across the country using an interactive map, what your rights are, and more. Our Deputy Director Gayle Goldin also participated in an event to celebrate the FMLA anniversary and to discuss momentum for paid leave at the state level, hosted by the Center for American Progress and the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Union Women’s Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day

On February 12, we celebrated Union Women’s Equal Pay Day. As the gender wage gap in America persists, UWEPD is a reminder that women forming and joining unions can advance pay equity for women. Did you know that, on average, workers represented by unions earn more than those working in non-union jobs, and union men and women also have more equitable wages compared to each other? That is part of the union advantage. Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler penned an op-ed explaining how unions can help women close the wage gap.

Making Equity Real: Black Workers and Good Jobs

Making Equity Real: Black Workers and Good Jobs

This month, Secretary Marty Walsh, Deputy Secretary Julie Su, and Black labor leaders convened in person for an important discussion on centering equity and job quality as we build a stronger, more prepared workforce. Three key takeaways from the conversation are: Infrastructure jobs we will create need to be good, union jobs; we must invest in care jobs - good paying, union jobs - as a necessary part of the equity in infrastructure; and there is a union advantage for women and POC - in EVERY paycheck and over a lifetime.

Women’s Bureau Holds Listening Sessions with Doulas

As part of DOL’s commitment to the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, WB held listening sessions with doulas to learn more about job quality gaps for doulas in states with insurance reimbursement and in states without it. The first listening session, held in Birmingham, Alabama, followed a roundtable with Mayor Randall Woodfin, stakeholders, and doulas to discuss the city’s investment in the doula workforce. The second session was held in Providence, Rhode Island at the Rhode Island Foundation, which recently provided grants to improve care for women of color by supporting the perinatal workforce, including doulas. Currently, Rhode Island is the only state to require that doulas services are covered by both Medicaid and private insurance. Alabama does not require insurance reimbursement for services, but in 2022, the City of Birmingham awarded a grant to train doulas and reimburse them for services to clients who are Medicaid eligible.

Upcoming Events

gender equity

White House Briefing on the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality Progress Report

In October 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Gender Strategy to advance gender equity in the U.S. and abroad. On Monday, Feb 27 at 2 p.m. ET, join the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Gender Policy Council for a briefing on the progress the Administration has made so far and hear strategic priorities in the year ahead.


DOL Grants Webinar: What they Are, Who they Serve, How to Apply


In October 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Gender Strategy to advance gender equity in the U.S. and abroad. On Monday, Feb 27 at 2 p.m. ET, join the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Gender Policy Council for a briefing on the progress the Administration has made so far and hear strategic priorities in the year ahead.


Building Futures Together: Engaging Women in Construction

construction Employee

Thursday, March 9, 2023 | 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
In recognition of Women in Construction Week, join us to learn about the many DOL resources, career pathways, and federal protections available to women in nontraditional occupations.


Women in Construction Webinar

construction Worker

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | 1:30–3:00 p.m. ET
Learn more about the Federal Highway Administration's Every Day Counts-6 Strategic Workforce Development initiative to identify, train, place, and retain women in construction, and hear from partner organizations, including the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Vermont Works4Women.

WB in the News

WDTV: First at 4 Forum – Nicole Neri

Ms. Magazine: The Childcare Crisis is Costing You Money

The Hill: Unions can help women close the wage gap

The Wall Street Journal: Child Care Hasn’t Recovered From Covid, Keeping Many Parents at Home

Alabama.com: How much of your paycheck goes to child care? Alabama child care, day care costs are increasing

NPR Planet Money: Why daycare is so expensive, but workers are paid too little

The Herald-Palladium: Report: Child care taking chunk out of Berrien County family income

We Want to Hear from You!


We Want to Hear from You!

“Occupational segregation” is the gendered sorting of men and women into different types of jobs. It leads to women being overrepresented in certain jobs, which are valued and compensated less than male-dominated jobs.

We’ve heard from many working women about their experiences with gendered job expectations, the challenges they face at work, the support systems that help them thrive and the policy changes that would help them succeed. We'd like to hear from you.

Follow the Women's Bureau on Twitter: @WB_DOL


We Want to Hear from You!

The Women’s Bureau has championed the rights of working women and served as a convener of conversations critical to an equitable economy for women for more than 100 years.

Follow us at @WB_DOL to view our #ThrowbackThursday series highlighting pioneering women, and to learn more about the latest research, initiatives, policies and updates related to working women and their families.