The Obama administration plans to host a series of roundtable discussions across the U.S. in order to gain more insight into workplace flexibility and expanding opportunities for women.
President Obama made the announcement on Thursday during a speech at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla. The discussions will pave the way for the first White House Summit on Working Families in June. Still sticking to the theme of growth and opportunity for all, the president described this new effort as the "family agenda," and in the same breath, declared it’s time for a women’s economic agenda.
This agenda, Obama said, aims to get equal pay for equal work for women -- and he urged employers and lawmakers give every woman “a fair shot.”
“When women succeed, America succeeds,” Obama said. “I truly believe that.”
The president pointed out that Congress has another chance to implement policies that are fair to women by passing a bill that is currently before it to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Action on this bill will result in more than 20 million Americans getting a higher paycheck, Obama said.
Obama argues that this “10.10 campaign” is good for businesses, as individuals will have more money to spend and that in turn will have ripple effect throughout the economy.
“It’s time for Congress to join the rest of the country,” Obama said. “Give America a raise. That in particular will help the disproportionate number of women who are in lower-wage jobs.”
“On each of these issues Members of Congress will have to choose between helping women and families get ahead or holding them back,” the president added.
House Republicans already banded together to strike down a Democratic proposal to increase the federal minimum wage. That women are earning 77 cents for every dollar that a man does is particularly uncomfortable for Obama, who is a father to two daughters.
“I want to make sure that my daughters are getting the same chances as men,” the president told the crowd. “I don’t want them paid less for doing the same job that some guy’s doing. When they have children I want to make sure that they’re not having to quit their jobs or in some other fashion be hampered because we don’t have the kind of policies in this country that support them.”
Further hammering the point home, Obama said part of the problem getting these policies enacted into law is that too few women are in Congress.
“I think we are all clear that Congress would get more done if you kinda even that out a little bit,” Obama said. “I’m pretty confident about that.”