Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Women’s Equality Day

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–August 26, 2011.  Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today released the following statement to commemorate Women’s Equality Day:

“It has been a long journey, but each day brings America closer to the kind of true equality that our heroines like Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul imagined for us when they led the fight for women’s suffrage generations ago.

“Women now represent a record 17 members of the United States Senate, three justices on the Supreme Court, 74 generals in the U.S. armed forces and seven Cabinet-level positions in the most diverse presidential administration in American history.

“One in four state legislators is now a woman, 71 women hold statewide elective office and more than half of the states have elected a woman governor. Women are leaders of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations and the American labor movement.

“We’ve ascended to leadership positions across all walks of American life, but perhaps our greatest impact can be felt in the American workforce. Not since the days of Rosie the Riveter have the contributions of women workers been more vital to our national prosperity. During World War II, more than 6 million women joined the workforce, building hundreds of thousands of airplanes, tanks, guns and warships — helping end the Great Depression through a production feat that Time magazine called ‘a miracle.’

“Today, we are a country drawing down from two wars and recovering from another great financial crisis, and once again it is women who are leading this country back. Women have more than doubled our numbers in the American workforce and more than tripled our college attainment in the last 40 years. In fact, more working women have college degrees today than men, while women-owned businesses are growing at four times the rate of businesses owned by men.

“That’s why the Labor Department is investing in workforce training for women to help America achieve a full economic recovery. And it’s why we have placed a special emphasis on helping women advance in growing sectors like the clean energy economy, health care and information technology.

“Our accomplishments are undeniable, but the fight for full equality endures. It has been four decades since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, but women still only make 81 cents on the dollar compared to men. That’s wrong, and it’s why the Labor Department continues to champion policies to combat pay discrimination, so we can finally achieve a society that offers equal pay for equal work. It’s also why we are vigorously enforcing the Family and Medical Leave Act and promoting flexible workplace initiatives so women can balance the demands of work and home.

“The fact that the daughter of first-generation immigrants can become the U.S. Secretary of Labor is proof that women can accomplish anything in this great nation — and is a testament to President Obama’s commitment to helping all Americans achieve their God-given potential.”