Last month, the Women’s Bureau co-hosted the “Equity in Focus Summit” with the Worker Institute at Cornell’s ILR School. The day-long summit, held on September 22 at the U.S. Department of Labor’s headquarters in Washington, focused on the importance of gender and racial equity in the workforce.
Speakers and panelists emphasized the need for gender and racial equity in policymaking and workforce development, highlighting promising policies and programs at the national, regional, state and local levels.
More than 1,000 attendees from across the country joined in person or via livestream to hear distinguished speakers including Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su, and Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler shared pre-recorded remarks.
Federal leaders discussed current and future infrastructure investments, ways to embed gender and racial equity in funding opportunities, and how funding can be used to create a more diverse and just workforce.
Panelists shared tested and effective strategies to recruit and retain women and women of color in the trades and nontraditional occupations.
Plenary participants spoke on fair wages/compensation for care workers, job quality for both formal and informal care providers, access to childcare/elder care for workers, and expanding care for those working in hospitality and the trades.
Emhoff offered closing remarks for the morning portion of the summit, underscoring the value of public-private partnerships in creating avenues for women to high-quality, good paying jobs—and equal pay and fair compensation in those jobs.
"When we lift women up, we lift up the economy," Emhoff said. "All these things are not women's issues; they're issues for all of us."
During the afternoon portion, participants attended breakout sessions led by representatives from the Department of Labor and other federal agencies, thought leaders and worker advocates, about the intersections of a care infrastructure and a strong worker-focused economy.
Prior to the in-person event, the Women’s Bureau and Cornell’s Worker Institute collaborated on a series of Equity in Focus webinars to jumpstart these summit conversations. Watch the webinars here.
If you missed the Equity in Focus Summit live, catch it here:
Follow the Women’s Bureau on Twitter at @WB_DOL.