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A Look Ahead at 2022

The first quarter of the year will be a busy one for the Women's Bureau as we dive into work on advancing equal pay for women, improving job opportunities for women of color, eliminating sexual harassment and discrimination in the world of work, advocating for compensation of unpaid or underpaid care work, and helping to build a stronger national care infrastructure. We'll share key updates and important findings through the events, activities, and releases we have planned for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and “Equal Pay” Day.

We look forward to publishing several major projects on childcare prices, the opportunity cost of caregiving, and COVID-19’s impact on women of color. We hope you’ll join us for roundtables with workers, families, advocacy groups, and local- and federal-level government officials; webinars on our most critical issues; monthly discussions on specific strategies for effecting change; and film screenings and thought-provoking Q&As. 

We invite you to follow us on Twitter at @WB_DOL, visit our website, and read our monthly newsletters to stay up to date on these upcoming events!

January Observances

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Martin Luther King Day – On Jan. 17, we celebrated the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the fight for equality and justice in the U.S. Dr. King was an advocate for workers’ rights and the right of all individuals to a livable wage. The Women’s Bureau is reinvigorated in our commitment to helping women workers learn about their employment rights and benefits through our Fostering Access, Rights and Equity (FARE) grant program.

In 2021, we awarded more than $2 million in FARE grant funding to six state and territory agencies that help women who are paid low wages. We are looking ahead to the next application cycle, which is scheduled to open in spring/summer 2022. 

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Vice President Harris Visits WANTO Grantee Site – The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership / Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (WRTP / BIG STEP) in Madison, Wis. hosted Vice President Kamala Harris on Jan. 25. Vice President Harris delivered remarks about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Biden-⁠Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, touching on the public health issue caused by lead exposure. She also noted that cleaning up this environmental problem would create good labor union jobs and utilize Registered Apprenticeship programs.

National Mentoring Month – Our Women in Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program exemplifies the importance of mentors and apprenticeship programs in helping women and women of color enter into new industries.

In 2021, we awarded more than $3.3 million in grant funding to five community-based organizations to recruit, mentor, train and retain more women in quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Our next WANTO application cycle is scheduled to open in spring/summer 2022.

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Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – On Jan. 29, we mark the anniversary of the first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed, in 2009. This law targeted wage discrimination based on sex. Today, women are still paid less than their same race and ethnicity male counterpart at every educational attainment, with women of color being paid some of the lowest wages in the country. Women are paid 82 cents for every dollar a non-Hispanic white man is paid. The rates for Black women and Hispanic women are even lower at 63.9 cents and 57 cents, respectively. Women are also over-represented in low-paying occupations, often without paid leave or the job protections that would enable them to care for their own families.

Blog: The Kids (and the Adults) Aren’t All Right – Job Losses in the Care Sector Extend Beyond Child Care

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While the December jobs report shows a better employment landscape for workers compared to a year ago, the promising numbers hide how poorly women—particularly women of color—are faring going into the third year of the pandemic. Women workers are still down 2.1 million jobs. Further, many traditionally feminized sectors, such as childcare and the nursing and residential care facilities industries, continue to have significantly fewer workers than before the pandemic.


U.S. DOT and U.S. DOL Announce Women of Trucking Advisory Board; White House Holds Roundtable Listening Session on Women in Trucking Industry

On Jan. 13, U.S. Departments of Transportation and Labor announced next steps for implementing the Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan, which included the creation of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will help inform efforts to increase the number of women in trucking by reporting on the challenges facing women drivers and those interested in joining the profession. Women's Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon participated in a virtual roundtable held on the same day by the White House to gather input on how to build a more inclusive and equitable workplace for women in the trucking industry.

What's New at Labor?

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A Note from Labor Secretary Marty Walsh – Earlier in January, I returned to the U.S. Conference of Mayors as a keynote speaker to thank mayors for all that they are doing to move their cities forward, and discuss what the Department of Labor is doing to support workers, families and businesses in their cities. 

We are focused on empowering all workers – morning, noon and night – in every community. We are working hard to protect workers’ health. To put more money in workers’ pockets. To get workers high-quality training for good-paying local jobs. To re-imagine Job Corps for the 21st century and modernize our unemployment insurance system. I’m confident we’ll rise to the challenges ahead of us.

Grants – Visit the newly launched website featuring current grants, past grants, and stories from grantees. See what funding opportunities are available, learn how to apply for future awards, and hear from organizations and grant recipients who have used the funds to serve communities across the country.

WOW (Workers Owed Wages) Database – DOL's Wage and Hour Division makes every effort to locate and notify all employees that are due back wages. If you think you may be owed back wages, search the WOW database.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 11, 1–2 p.m. ET | FMLA at 29: What's the Impact for Working Women?
29 years after the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), research continues to show that paid family and medical leave is a critical need for working families. Join us for a conversation with Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families; Jody Heymann, dean of the UCLA Field School of Public Health; and Jane Waldfogel, co-director of the Columbia Population Research Center.

Feb. 14, 2–3:30 p.m. ET | “Invisible Warriors"—African-American Women in WWII
In honor of Black History Month, the Women's Bureau will host a screening of "Invisible Warriors," a documentary by historian and retired professor Gregory Cooke about the 600,000 African-American women who worked at factories and shipyards during World War II, but whose contributions were largely unrecognized. A fireside chat with the filmmaker will follow the screening.

Feb. 24, 12:30–2 p.m. ET | Webinar Series: Equity in Focus, Job Creation for a Just Society
This series, co-hosted by the Women’s Bureau and the Cornell Worker’s Institute, will bridge theory and practice through examinations of how best to advance an equity lens in public investments. We invite you to attend the first webinar for some answers to the questions, 'What is Equity?'; 'How do we infuse it in policy outcomes?'; and 'How do we measure it?'

We Want to Hear from You!

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The pandemic has shown our economy can only work when it works for working women. What new hurdles has COVID placed on you, your family, your work, and your economic security? What do you need to emerge from this moment stronger?

Follow the Women's Bureau on Twitter: @WB_DOL

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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.