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The 2017 Policy Agenda

Women and Opportunity

Recent years have seen continued progress toward gender equality and an explosion of women’s creation and ownership of small businesses. But women’s workforce participation rates have dropped over the past decade, due in large part to the rising costs of childcare.


All women are affected by economic stagnation and unequal distribution of income. Women still bear a heavier burden than men when it comes to balancing work and care of children as well as care for the ill, the aged, and the disabled. The Women2Women Policy Agenda supports policies for greater and more equal women’s opportunity in the following areas:

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Women and Opportunity

The Women2Women Policy Agenda supports policies for greater and more equal women’s opportunity in the following areas:

• Incentivizing Workplace Flexibility
• Helping Working Parents with Child Care
• Improving Maternity and Family Leave Policies
• Delivering Small Business Tax and Regulatory Relief
• Increasing Small Business’ Access to Capital
• Reducing Occupational Licensing and Other Regulatory Obstacles
• Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit
• Encouraging Women’s Financial Literacy

Women Entrepreneurship and business ownership 4.8% Total receip

Women are often forced to choose between a career and a family. This is a problem for the broader economy, since research has consistently demonstrated that businesses work better when they include a critical mass of women. This is why the Women2Women Agenda aims to incentivize workplace flexibility. In the field of entrepreneurship and business ownership, the most recent survey data reveals that of the nation’s 30 million businesses in 2012, more than a third were women-owned. But those women-owned firms tended to be smaller than those owned by men, and accounted for only 4.8 percent of total receipts. For this any many other reasons the 2017 Women2Women Agenda is focused on ensuring women have an equal chance at success in their careers.

Women and Health

In the political battles over access to health care, the particular health needs of women and their children often get overlooked.


But this omission can no longer be tolerated at a time when life expectancy for many American women is decreasing, for the first time in decades. The Women2Women Policy Agenda supports efforts to provide for better health and life outcomes for women in the following policy areas:

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Women and Health

The Women2Women Agenda aims to improve access to healthcare for women and their families. Sadly, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia disproportionately affect women; of the more than 5 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, two-thirds are women. This statistic is more troubling considering that the majority of primary caregivers are women. We need legislation to help improve care and treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia, which will improve the lives of the millions of women who suffer from the disease and the millions more who act as caregivers. The Women2Women Policy Agenda supports policies for greater and more equal women’s opportunity in the following areas:

• Incentivizing Workplace Flexibility
• Helping Working Parents with Child Care
• Improving Maternity and Family Leave Policies
• Delivering Small Business Tax and Regulatory Relief
• Increasing Small Business’ Access to Capital
• Reducing Occupational Licensing and Other Regulatory Obstacles
• Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit
• Encouraging Women’s Financial Literacy

Women and Education

As mothers, women want their children to have a good start in life and to face as few barriers to success as possible.


Inadequacies in our public education system, and the lack of high-quality childhood education, pose a threat to our children’s futures. So too do the out-of-control increases in college costs and student debt. The Women2Women Policy Agenda supports policies in these areas to make education better, more accessible, and more affordable:

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Women and Education

The Women2Women Policy Agenda supports efforts to provide for greater opportunity and social mobility through education. These efforts include the following policy areas:
• Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care
• Facilitating Family Health Care Flexibility
• Reducing Substance Abuse and Addiction
• Improving Dementia Care and Treatment
• Preventing Cancer Through Safer Sunscreens
• Ensuring the Safety of Personal Care Products
• Allowing Terminal Patients the “Right to Try” Experimental Therapies

Early Childhood Education

Greater investment in early childhood education and development, along the lines of universal pre-K and programs put in place by several Republican governors.

College Education and Student Loans

To make college savings go further, Main Street Member Lynn Jenkins proposed expanded use of 529 college-savings plans that allow families to save while their children grow and then use the funds to pay for college expenses without being taxed.

Opening up Pell Grants to allow students to receive funding for summer courses, as proposed in the Flexible Pell Grant for 21st Century Students Act by Main Street Rep. Elise Stefanik, will give more students the opportunity to finish school faster and on their own schedule. This is important given that more students are receiving degrees while working and not just attending class in the traditional fall and spring semesters.

Women and Politics

The media is full of stories about the difference in voting preferences between women and men. In the 2016 presidential election, this “gender gap” between our two principal political parties reached a new record as the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, won with men by 12 points and lost with women by the same margin.

But another political gender gap is more troubling: Women’s underrepresentation in politics and government. Women are a majority of voters, but Congress is 80 percent male. The situation is even more acute for Republicans: GOP Congressmen outnumber GOP Congresswomen by a more than 11-to-1 ratio. And this problem is getting worse over time.

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Women and Politics

When women run for political office, they’re just as likely as men to win election. But few women throw their hats in the political ring because they need a lot more encouragement than men to become candidates. It’s a matter of confidence — or women’s lack of it. Numerous studies have shown that men who consider running for office think they’re extremely well qualified — even when they’re not. But even highly qualified women don’t believe they meet the bar to run for office

Fundraising

There’s more to women’s underrepresentation in politics than that, though. Because there are so few women in politics, potential women candidates lack familiarity with the structure that could shepherd them through primary elections. Women candidates also lack familiarity with fundraising, which is the biggest perceived barrier to running for higher office. Women are less likely than men to ask for money — or to ask for enough money.

The reality is that when it comes to political campaigns, men are still the ones who write the checks. Political observers have seen time and again how a male candidate and a female candidate will receive radically different treatment when they speak to a potential (male) donor. The male candidate will have a friendly chat with the donor about sports, fraternities, and the people and networks they have in common. The female candidate will receive none of the pleasantries, she’ll be expected to know twice as much about policy, and she’ll walk out with a check that’s half the size of the man’s.