National Commentary

Congressman Beyer’s News Commentary: Women’s Economic Empowerment

beyer-onlinemugThe 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote nearly a century ago. Today, despite enormous progress in other areas of our society, we continue to disenfranchise women in the workplace. This makes no economic sense.

After 40 years in business, I know that when women succeed, America succeeds. That is why I am proud to announce that I will be hosting my second conference on women’s economic empowerment, Women Take Charge, on Saturday, October 15, at George Mason University in Arlington.

Women make up nearly half of the American workforce and according to U.S. Census data, 40 percent of American households rely on women as the sole or primary breadwinner. Yet data shows that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar their male peers make. This is unacceptable.

We need to unleash the potential of America’s female employees, for our economy, our businesses, and our families. We can do this with policies like the Paycheck Fairness Act that I sponsored, or by bringing our paid family and medical leave policies in line with the rest of the world, or by urging corporations to act more transparently when it comes to putting women in leadership roles.

To achieve this, we also need to remove speed bumps that hinder women’s involvement in local civics and politics. Our event’s keynote speaker this year is former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, one of the most highly regarded strategists with decades of experience in political, corporate, and nonprofit advocacy. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Anita on what initially inspired her political engagement.

After Anita’s keynote delivery, I will present the annual Clara Mortenson Beyer “Women and Children First” Award to a longtime community and civic leader who has devoted her life to ensuring families and children in disadvantaged communities have the resources, education, and enrichment opportunities to succeed.

Then, participants will break out into leadership training sessions on a number of topics affecting working women, including a leadership conference with Virginia Senator Janet Howell, Delegate Charniele Herring, Fairfax County Supervisor Penny Gross, and School Board Member Dalia Palchik moderated by Kim Anderson from the Democracy Alliance. Other breakout sessions will discuss the global impact of women in politics, information for emerging women leaders, and grassroots lessons on getting involved in your community.

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