At the beginning of this Administration, the President tasked Vice President Biden with chairing the Middle Class Task Force to identify and push through measures to help get middle-class families back on their feet.
From day one, the Middle Class Task Force has focused on supporting women in all of the work they do – as caregivers to our nation’s children and the elderly, as leaders in business and increasingly as co-breadwinners in households across the country. With more women entering and remaining in the workforce and more households than ever dependent on two incomes, this work is critical to helping middle-class families regain and maintain their financial security.
Yesterday the National Economic Council released a report, Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women, which provided even more evidence for why this work is critically important.
The report lays out that in almost two-thirds of families women are either the primary or co-breadwinner in their household. Many women are sole breadwinners. As of December 2009, 2.1 million women whose husbands were unemployed were working as the sole breadwinners for their families. An additional 6.1 million women are single mothers and the sole breadwinners for their families.
As women’s income and employment gains increasing importance in family budgets, their other roles do not disappear. Women are still playing substantial roles as caregivers to their children, parents and family members with disabilities. That means it is more important than ever to support women as they seek to balance these responsibilities.
The report highlights some of the initiatives the Middle Class Task Force championed in the 2011 Budget to provide families with more options as they try to navigate this increasingly delicate juggling act. These aren’t just women’s issues; they are issues of vital importance to every family’s economic security.
Some of our 2011 Budget Proposals:
A near-doubling of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families. This would result in a $900 increase in the maximum credit available to many middle class families.
$100 million for the Caregiver Initiative at the Department of Health and Human Services, which would help an additional 200,000 caregivers better balance their responsibilities and support one million additional hours of adult day care and three million rides to critical daily activities, taking the strain off women and their families.
- $50 million for the State Paid Leave Fund at the Department of Labor, which will provide competitive grants to help cover start-up costs for states that choose to launch paid leave programs.
These are just some of the Administration’s efforts to support women and the middle-class families they support as they seek to regain their footing. To read the report and learn more about the Administration’s efforts to support women and middle-class families, click here.
Maureen Tracey-Mooney is Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of the Vice President