Empowering Our Working Women

by Latifa Lyles on August 20, 2012 · 6 comments

At the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, we strive to make sure that women and girls are equipped with the knowledge and tools to overcome barriers in the workforce. I recently had the opportunity to do just that by hosting a series of Women’s Bureau forums entitled “Working for Women: Your Jobs, Your Rights.”

The forums – which took place in Orlando, Fla., Lansing, Mich., and Las Vegas, Nev. – brought together hundreds of experienced workforce professionals to recent college graduates. Participants had an opportunity to connect and engage in discussions with panelists and speakers including Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and senior Labor Department officials. The audience also learned how the Department is working to promote the economic security of women and their families.

Participants visit the Women's Bureau resource table before start of the "Working for Women: Your Jobs, Your Rights" Forum

Our goal was to assist women and stakeholders in accessing resources that protect women while on the job, and help women keep what they earn. We wanted to emphasize the relationship between America’s economic success and the success of women.

Nancy Leppink, Deputy Administrator at the Wage and Hour Division shared a video entitled “Know Your Rights: Conozca Sus Derecho” which provided the valuable information about the minimum wage and overtime resources. Additionally, she discussed a video created by my agency, “In Their Own Words.” In the video, some of our country’s most vulnerable women workers shared their experiences while on the job. Many in the audience were so touched by the stories of the women that they were compelled to discuss their own experiences in the workplace. 

The forums also featured the Department’s Chief Economist Adriana Kugler, who spoke about the labor market recovery, the role of women in that recovery, and how various policies have helped spur job growth.  While, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration informed the audience about one of OSHA’s most recent projects to protect hair salon workers from possible formaldehyde exposure.

By the end of the forums, many women walked away educated about existing tools and empowered by newly acquired knowledge. The forums also taught me a few things, such as despite our efforts to increase awareness about the available resources to help women, there are still barriers that we must break down. Improving opportunities for women and ensuring that they are prepared to compete in the changing economy will continue to be an important part of the mission of the Women’s Bureau.

To learn more about our work at the Women’s Bureau, visit www.dol.gov/wb.

Latifa Lyles is Acting Director of the U. S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 E Scott August 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Very powerful and impactful. I am writing out of concern though that some agencies are not providing equal rights to women with disabilities or women are pregnant while working? Have these topics been covered at any of your meetings?

2 bizworldusa August 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

This is an excellent post regarding the empowering of women.
The US labour department has a great goal to assist women and stakeholders in accessing resources that protect women while on the job, and help women keep what they earn.

With this many of womens are devoloped and they prove thier talent.

Thank you for posting
Bizworldusa.com

3 The current Great Awakening August 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

It would certainly interest me to know which “barriers” you are addressing. I read nothing specific in that article, which was filled with flowery platitudes, sounding very similar to “HOPE and CHANGE”. When you speak of “barriers” are you referring to the freedom to contract? Because working for someone constitutes first a choice by the person (that can even include women, believe it or not) to offer his/her time and efforts to an emplyer in exchange for the value the employer is willing to pay for that time and effort. No person has a “right” to work for anyone else. We certainly have cultured a sense of entitlement to do just that over the course of 100 years of freedom-destroying metastatic progressivism. If ANY person, including a woman looking for a job, wants something more than can be contracted for through employment, the solution is to treat the disease that conditions us to strive to be employees and instead dare to become entrepeneurs. The real barriers are those that discourage entrpreneurism: unconstitutional government participation in/meddling with/interference with the marketplace. Regulation is not law, because only legislatures MAY make law. Stop reacting to agency rules as if they are legitimate law and unleash the power and opportunity of a free marketplace once again, and all of this silly “barrier” nonsense will dissolve.

4 Christina Clark August 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

Any plans to host a similar conference in the DC area? Is there any plans to educate women on the signs of “workplace bullying”…this is a silent action (not EEO or hostile work environment) causing great stress among the workforce. It would be helpful to see what resources are available to help women not suffer in silence and not resign because of a “bully”.

5 M J August 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Christina – I definitely agree there is not enough protection from workplace bullying. As long as the employer/employee thinks they have not broken any laws and there will be no repercussions for their actions – this will continue.

6 Response to MJ August 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

MJ: assuming your observation is accurate, the problem is NOT an issuefor government to address. NOWHERE in Article 1 section 8 is Congress given authority to prevent bullying. Are we a nation of sissies, or what?!? If you have an issue with someone in your workplace, it is NOT the responsibility of your employer to do something about it, the responsibility is YOURS! Regulation prevents nothing; it merely creates mechanisms for unelected bureaucrats to collect damages from someone without having to go through the pesky (Constitutional) process of pursuing an action in court.

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