New Jersey will not move forward, nor will we grow our middle class as long as half our workforce is unfairly paid less, has less access to the tools needed to start or grow a business and faces difficult hurdles when it comes to balancing work and family.
The good news is, that across the country and here in New Jersey, we have witnessed the enormous strides women have made in the workforce. Women drive our state’s economic growth, making up nearly half of our labor force and owning over 270,000 businesses that create hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in economic activity each year. And women are now the primary breadwinners in over 400,000 New Jersey households – the backbone of our middle class.
Despite this progress, New Jersey’s policies have not kept pace. More than ever, our state needs new leadership that will push for higher wages and quality jobs — so that no woman has to work more than one job to make ends meet while caring for an ill parent or child. Phil will champion an economic agenda that bolsters opportunity for all women and girls because when they succeed, New Jersey succeeds. He will:
- Raise wages and expand access to good-paying jobs. It’s time New Jersey’s policies reflect the real value of women’s work. Phil will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and increase access to capital for women and minority-owned businesses.
- Advance policies that help women secure and maintain employment. New Jersey is home to over two million working women, many of whom juggle multiple jobs while caring for a sick child or parent. Phil will enact paid sick leave, create a child and dependent care tax credit, expand New Jersey’s paid leave program, and remove workplace barriers for new mothers.
- Provide “equal pay for equal work” and promote pay transparency. New Jersey will not achieve equal pay without aggressive reforms, which is why Phil will support legislation that strengthens penalties for wage discrimination, bans employers from asking job applicants for their salary history, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss compensation.
- Invest in women and girls at every stage of our education system. Women and girls are more educated than their male counterparts, yet they remain systematically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Phil will launch a “Computer Science for All” initiative to get girls excited about science and engineering early on and keep them engaged throughout middle and high school. He will also fully fund our public schools and lower the cost of a college education.
- Lead by example on gender parity and diversity. Phil believes the perspectives of women and minorities must be represented in every rank of government. He will appoint a cabinet that reflects the diversity of New Jersey, establish a Chief Diversity Officer position, and publish an annual review of state diversity contracting and procurement.
It’s time our policies ensure that women and girls have every possible opportunity to succeed. Let’s build a more inclusive New Jersey and lead the nation in being the state that puts our women and girls first.