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The President’s Plan Includes Important Provisions for Women and their Families, says NWLC

September 09, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) Last evening President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and proposed a $447 billion plan to put Americans back to work and get the economy moving.

The following is a statement from Nancy Duff Campbell and Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-Presidents of the National Women’s Law Center:

We applaud President Obama’s call to action on job creation and urge Congress to act promptly on his proposals. For women, the recovery hasn’t just been slow – it’s been nonexistent. Women have actually lost jobs, and their unemployment rate has increased since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Policymakers’ decisions to cut public funding for public services, eliminating massive numbers of public and private-sector jobs, made a grim jobs picture for women even worse. Teachers, nurses, day care providers, and social workers have lost jobs, causing enormous suffering for families and communities.

The plan outlined by the President will help create jobs, grow the economy, and alleviate hardship for millions of families.

The President’s plan includes targeted measures that will help struggling state and local governments avoid layoffs. These measures will help teachers, including early education teachers, who are overwhelmingly women, and police, firefighters and other public safety workers and first responders. This will not only help prevent further job losses for these critical government employees but also help maintain the important public services they provide.

The President’s plan also includes funding to rebuild the nation’s physical infrastructure, including specific funding for outreach and training to ensure that these opportunities are available to women, communities of color, and the disadvantaged. The help targeted to women is especially important as they are underrepresented in construction and infrastructure jobs and have been losing, not gaining, jobs since the end of the recession.

Because it will take time to recover the millions of jobs that have been lost and to create the millions of additional jobs needed, the President’s plan includes measures to extend emergency unemployment benefits and otherwise help the long-term unemployed. These provisions, too, are important to women because nearly half of all unemployed women are long-term unemployed. These measures will both help them make ends meet and get back into the workforce.

These measures are critically needed to address the immediate deficit facing this country – the jobs deficit – and we call on Congress to act promptly on them.  Equally important, these measures must not be negated by cuts in spending for public services and programs that would destroy jobs and create greater hardship. The President has issued the call to action. Now Congress must act.