Dear Friends of the Women’s Bureau,
As a proud American, I always stop and ask myself, “How can I, as the Director of the Women’s Bureau best serve the citizens of this country?”
The question was on my mind as I wrote a blog post in honor of Independence Day about the women behind the American Revolution, including those in roles that are traditionally held by men. Then, as in now, women, including our 1st Second Lady and 2nd First Lady, Abigail Adams, faced the brunt of the responsibilities for care.
When the Women’s Bureau was established 100 years ago, following World War I, the nation emerged as a burgeoning economic superpower. In response to these events, the woman-dominated field of nursing and healthcare expanded in perpetuity, and more women continuously entered the paid workforce. Women’s Bureau research from the 1920s made it clear; women faced challenges in the workforce due to home responsibilities.
What we do know about both these times, and today, is that work itself is not limited to paid work. These histories, whether 244 or 100 years ago, or today, show us that history repeats itself, but also, that advancement is inevitable.
With this knowledge, the answers are illuminated by our history. First, women need access to child care. Second, when women are free to pursue their chosen vocation the nation is better for it.
This is one of the reasons I was excited to participate in the American Enterprise Institute’s webinar on the future of family child care; a subject at the intersection of these issues. As our nation’s economy continues to reopen, and as we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19, I look forward to examining the issue of child care access with renewed vigor.
Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D.
U.S. Department of Labor
Women’s Bureau Director Joins American Enterprise Institute Event on the Future of Family Child Care
On June 12, 2020, Director Laurie Todd-Smith joined a virtual discussion on the future of family child care with Shannon Christian, Director of the Office of Childcare in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Jessica Sagar, CEO of All Our Kin; and Katharine Stevens, Resident Scholar at AEI. During the event, Dr. Todd-Smith discussed the history of the Women’s Bureau and its current focus on increasing access to high-quality child care for working women.
U.S.- Chile Technical Exchange on Women in the Workplace
On June 12, 2020, the Women’s Bureau joined the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs in a technical exchange with Chile’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and Ministry of Women and Gender Equity Affairs on women in the workplace. During this bilateral engagement, participants shared recent data, current programs, and future opportunities for working women in the U.S. and Chile. This technical exchange on women's workplace issues was the fourth bilateral engagement within the U.S.-Chile Cooperative Labor Dialogue under the free trade agreement.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor launched an interactive online tool to help workers determine if they qualify for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to cover time away from work for reasons related to the coronavirus.
For more information, view the news release.
The Women’s Bureau’s “Our Purpose. Your Work.” initiative presents women of all ages with the opportunity to share your work stories and talk about how the Women’s Bureau has helped advance your purpose. Throughout our centennial year, we have collected and shared stories to learn how the Women’s Bureau’s resources and initiatives have made a difference in your life, at work and at home.
The Women’s Bureau has been championing the rights and well-being of working women for the past 100 years. On June 5, the centennial anniversary of our founding, the Women’s Bureau launched its own Twitter account!
Follow us at @WB_DOL to learn more about the latest research, initiatives, policies, and updates related to working women!
Did you know that FRASER (the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s online library) holds over 700 historical documents created by the Women’s Bureau? In their blog post on celebrating the Women’s Bureau Centennial, FRASER states that “Browsing this collection offers a look into the historical importance of the Bureau and the work it has accomplished. For 100 years, the Women’s Bureau has not only helped change the outlook for working women but has also strengthened their role in the American workforce.”