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Women Mayors Address Issues of Working Women, Women's History

By Joan Crigger
January 30, 2012

The Women Mayors met during the 80th Winter Meeting and heard from the Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Sara Manzano-Diaz and National Women's History Museum President Joan Wages. Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley, Chair of the Caucus, opened the meeting and said how glad she was to see so many women mayors in attendance.

Manzano-Diaz spoke about the importance of jobs for everybody, especially young people. She reminded everyone that last week the President announced his Summer Jobs Plus program that will work with business, mayors, non-profits and the DOL to create 250,000 summer jobs this year. As of last week, 180,000 jobs had been promised.

According to Manzano-Diaz, the Women's Bureau was created 91 years ago, two months before women had the right to vote. The focus of the Bureau is employment and training for women. Manzano-Diaz- major priorities are working with other federal agencies, as well as encouraging more women to enter non'traditional occupations, clean and green jobs, and supporting women veterans when they return home.

Manzano-Diaz said that there are 72 million working women, half of the workforce and that the majority have low wage jobs. She stated that we must be committed to educating our young girls because that is the only way they will have economic security. Manzano-Diaz also talked about preparing girls to enter STEM occupations and announced that the Bureau just released Why Green Is Your Color, a guide to women who want to be part of the green jobs environment.

The Director said that returning women vets have multiple traumas, more than male returning vets. She stated that the numbers of women serving in the military who are victims of sexual assault has increased significantly and often is not reported. Also, to aid homeless women vets, the Bureau has released a guide, Trauma-Informed Care.

Following Manzano-Diaz's remarks, Wages spoke about building a museum to recognize women in American history on the Mall. She indicated that there is a bi-partisan group supporting legislation to create the Museum and indicated that the funding of the Museum would be done by the organization. Wages stated that there are no statues of women on the Mall. The Museum would be focused on women's history around the country.

Wages said there as a huge effort a few years ago to include women of historical significance in history books. There has been a significant change but the information is not in the public view.

In closing, Moseley indicated that a resolution for the June meeting would be developed by her and some other women mayors to support building the Museum.