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The recovery must include the care economy

Women’s workforce participation is plummeting, Nationally, nearly one in three women ages of 25 – 44 have been pushed out of the labor force because they have no access to affordable childcare. Child professionals are being underpaid or pushed out of jobs as well.

Women’s labor force participation is now at a 30-year low. That’s a huge problem and a major setback for families, businesses, gender and racial equality, and our economy.

We know that significant investment in our care infrastructure — from childcare to paid leave, to raising the minimum wage, long term care, making permanent improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit, and more — will both create jobs and enable parents to work. We need permanent workplace protections and a care infrastructure that covers everyone, always, because too many families were hanging by a thread even before the pandemic began. We don’t want to go back to that. We want to do better going forward.

Investing in a care infrastructure is a win-win-win. Even Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, talked about it recently as a way to lift our economy.

For infants and toddlers, these investments can be life changing by ensuring infants and toddlers get high-quality childcare during the years where the most rapid brain development is occurring. For example, increasing the supply of child care (including home-based childcare) can alleviate the scarcity of childcare, which is more than three times as scarce for children aged 0-2 during these critical years.

I am calling on our Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to help our hard working women in the workforce. We also need our State Representative Sue Allor and State Senator Jim Stamas to fight for our hard working women.

MARY O’NEILL,

Presque Isle

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