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‘America needs to catch up’: Sec. Raimondo on the pandemic’s unequal toll on women

The 19th — an independent nonprofit newsroom and streaming partner of the NewsHour — continues its annual Represents summit Wednesday with an interview between Judy Woodruff and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The two discussed the care economy and how the pandemic has impacted women in the workforce. Here's a brief look at their conversation.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The 19th, an independent nonprofit newsroom, and streaming partner of the "NewsHour," continues its annual Represents summit today with, among other things, an interview I did with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

    We spoke about how the pandemic has especially affected women in the work force. And I asked her what needs to happen for women to feel comfortable returning to work.

    Here's that excerpt.

  • Gina Raimondo:

    You know, I talk to CEOs pretty much daily, and they will tell me they have a lot of women who are their very best employees, their very best software developers, their very best managers.

    They want them to take promotions. They're offering them promotions. But women are saying: I can't do it right now. I can't do it right now.

    With schools being closed, with child care hard to find, with — maybe they have, as I have, an elderly mother or father, it's hard to find care. They're having to either drop out of the work force or maybe part-time or maybe not be fully engaged, say no to that promotion, which is — which is — holds us back as an economy.

    And it's certainly not equitable. When we talk about building back better, it's building back equitably. It means everyone ought to be able to participate to their fullest potential in the economy. And so I think it's providing high-quality child care, providing public pre-K, providing high-quality home care.

    This isn't a luxury. It's fundamental. Every other developed nation in the world is far ahead of America in this regard, basic things like paid time off, paid sick leave, the child care tax credit. It's past time for this to happen. It's good for our economy, and America needs to catch up.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

    You can watch the whole interview and more from 19th Represents this week on our Web site. It's PBS.org/NewsHour and on the "NewsHour"'s YouTube page.

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