Department of Labor Women’s Bureau works toward equality in the workforce

Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 8:16 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Department of Labor Women’s Bureau continues to advocate for equality in the workforce nationwide and continue the conversation about the gender wage gap.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Women’s Bureau has been around since the 1920s helping fight for women’s equality.

“We are one of the oldest agencies in the department of labor, and we are the only federal agency that exclusively serves the interest of women in the labor force,” said Charmaine Davis with the Women’s Bureau.

Davis said that the wage gap is the most significant issue for women in the working world. According to DOL’s national research, in 2019, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings that were about 82 percent of their male counterparts. For the state of Louisiana, the median weekly earning for women is less than the national average, 73.6 percent compared to full-time wage and salary working men.

“This year, March 24, marks the day in which women must work into 2021 to earn what the average male earned in 2020,” said Davis.

The DOL reports that since 2004, the women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio has remained in the 80 to 83 percentile range. Other issues discussed by the bureau: Paid time off, women stepping into male-dominated roles or non-traditional jobs, women being taken seriously in leadership positions, gender discrimination, and more.

“The more women that get in administration or some type of high-level position, they are bringing these topics to the table that really matter,” said Lake Charles realtor Danette McManus.

McManus is just one working woman who manages being a mother of three and balancing a successful career as a realtor and making time for herself.

“That is a hard role because you do want to be the best parent, the best wife, the best career person, the best house keeper, the best cook,” said McManus.

Stepping away from traditional standards for women, people like McManus are finding themselves in more than one role.

“And that’s hard to juggle as a women.”

Members of the Women’s Bureau said they advocate for women because they understand the struggles of how many roles many women take on. The Department of Labor now offers grants to help encourage women to take on more non-traditional roles. The department is also offering more resources for Covid-19 related issues.

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