FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION: October 29, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC — As Congress enters the final stretches of negotiations on President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, we applaud the recently announced framework that includes expanding health care access for 4 million uninsured individuals, 12 months of guaranteed postpartum care for new mothers, extending the Child Tax Credit, universal Pre-K for 3 and 4 year olds, and home care investments for seniors and persons with disabilities. However, we are extremely disheartened to see a gaping hole in the President’s care agenda — paid family and medical leave — to support millions of working mothers.
Statement from Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF):
“With historic investments in child and elderly care, early education, and health care, President Biden’s Build Back Better Act will transform the lives of millions of families across America. At the same time, the exclusion of a universal paid family and medical leave program puts the lives of millions of Americans at stake, especially working mothers.
This is a huge disappointment to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, who are overrepresented in our front line workforce, filling in large swaths of the retail, personal care aide, and restaurant industries. For many, these low-paying jobs rarely include benefits, including paid leave and sick days.
AAPI working mothers are often the breadwinners in multigenerational, immigrant households, providing care and economic support to their children, elderly parents, and extended family members. AAPI women have experienced the highest rates of long-term unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic among any racial or ethnic group in 2020, with almost half (or 44 percent) of all AAPI women out of the workforce for longer than six months. On top of this, the lived, everyday experiences of AAPI women continue to be exacerbated by anti-Asian hate and racism.
As the social spending bill makes its final approach to the Congressional floor, NAPAWF remains committed to fighting for paid family leave, in addition to a pathway to citizenship, and comprehensive health benefits for women. We will continue to hold our elected officials and those running for office accountable to our priorities.”
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.