Elizabeth Warren's New Plan Aims To Help Women Of Color Rise To The Top In Government

Photo: Nati Harnik/AP.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is unveiling a new proposal Friday in which she outlines several executive actions she would take on her first day as president to expand economic opportunities for women of color, particularly in the federal government, Refinery29 has learned.
The 2020 presidential candidate recognizes that Black women, Latinas, Indigenous women, Asian women, and other women of color face roadblocks ranging from the gender wage gap (Latinas earn just 53 cents to a white man’s dollar, for example) to experiencing racial discrimination at work and being largely blocked from obtaining leadership opportunities.
"The experiences of women of color are not one-dimensional: sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability all shape how a person's work is valued in the workplace. But our economy should be working just as hard for women of color as women of color work for our economy and their families," Warren wrote in a Medium post announcing the plan. "For decades, the government has helped perpetuate the systemic discrimination that has denied women of color equal opportunities. It’s time for the government to try to right those wrongs — and boost our economy in the process."
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The executive actions Warren would take cover three major areas: requirements for federal contractors, leadership roles in the federal government, and the enforcement of anti-discrimination measures.
The first proposal would establish new regulations for federal contractors to ensure equity in their workplaces. Warren's plan includes denying contracts to companies "with poor track records on diversity and equal pay," banning federal contractors from using forced arbitration and non-compete clauses, prohibiting federal contractors from asking job candidates to disclose their salary and criminal histories, and ensuring that companies pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour and offer comprehensive benefits to all employees if they wish to obtain a federal contract.
The second executive action outlines new paths to hiring and retaining women of color in the federal government, with a special focus on diversifying leadership positions. To attain this goal, Warren is proposing to direct resources focused on recruiting entry-level talent from minority-serving institutions, such as historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and make sure that the process of hiring at higher levels includes diverse candidates; creating paid fellowship programs in the federal sector for applicants from low-income communities and underrepresented backgrounds; and establishing a government-wide mentorship program and other inclusion initiatives to help promote women of color to higher-level roles.
The final proposal is to strengthen anti-discrimination measures and make it easier for women from underrepresented communities to report issues. Warren's executive order would direct the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to issue guidance addressing how to enforce claims that involve "the intersectional discrimination that women of color face from the interlocking biases of racism and sexism." As president, Warren would also direct the EEOC to monitor sectors that employ women of color at higher rates, such as the service industry, because research shows they are more likely to face discrimination in those jobs.
That the Massachusetts senator has a plan focused on helping women of color should not come as a surprise, since she has introduced policy proposals on topics ranging from affordable child care and Black maternal mortality to reparations for slavery, Big Tech, and the student debt crisis.
"It’s time to build an America that recognizes the role that women of color play in their families and in the economy, that fairly values their work, and that delivers equal opportunity for everyone," Warren wrote.
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