Vice President Kamala Harris called the state of women who have left the workforce because of the pandemic a “national emergency” during a call with powerful female leaders.
In a virtual roundtable with lawmakers, CEOs and prominent activists on Thursday, according to Reuters, Harris plugged President Joe Biden’s Covid relief bill — which would include paid family leave, $40 billion for childcare and a plan to reopen schools.
She said enacting these policies would help the 2.5 million women who have left their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic hopefully get back to work.
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“Our economy cannot fully recover unless women can participate fully,” Harris said on the video call, according to the New York Times.
Adding that the issue is personal to her, Harris said, “The longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to bring these women back into the workforce.”
Women on the call included Washington Sen. Patty Murray and California Rep. Barbara Lee, as well as Jen Earle of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Melanie Campbell of the Black Women’s Roundtable, and Tina Tchen, CEO of the anti-sexual harassment group Time’s UP.
This will likely be the first of many meetings Harris holds with influential women to draw attention to the administration’s policies, according to Reuters.
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