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Governor’s Council Supports Legislation Aimed at Broadening Economic Opportunities for Women

  • Governor’s Council on Women and Girls backs six bills aimed at expanding educational and workforce opportunities for women and girls
  • Measures would ease the acceptance of out-of-state occupational licenses, deter age discrimination, and improve transportation and child care options
  • Women have been disproportionately more likely than men to leave the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

A council established by Governor Ned Lamont has endorsed six bills aimed at broadening educational and workforce access for women and girls in Connecticut.

The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, which was created shortly after Lamont took office in January 2019 and is led by Lt. Governor Bysiewicz and Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw, voiced its support for six measures that are currently before the Connecticut legislature. Bysiewicz and McCaw say the proposals aim to remove barriers and open opportunities for women and girls to attend classes or pursue employment. Lamont says the initiatives are particularly important as the COVID-19 pandemic has led hundreds of thousands of women to depart the workforce.

Four of the bills were put forward by the Lamont-Bysiewicz administration. Two would ease the process of recognizing occupational licenses from skilled workers who move to Connecticut. The administration says there are often onerous requirements to have such licenses transfered to Connecticut, which can be a significant hurdle for military spouses.

The council is also voicing support for a measure to improve access to transportation for those attending educational programs or workforce training. This bill would create a “bulk ride transit pass” open to training institutions, higher education institutions, private occupational schools, employers, local or state agencies, and public or non-profit social service providers in Connecticut.

Two bills the council is supporting would broaden child care options. One, put forth by the administration, would allow those participating in the Citizens Election Program to use program funds for child care expenses, making it easier for women to run for state office. The other would clarify, enforce, and expand housing and zoning protections for licensed group child care and family child care homes in an effort to provide more options for families to access affordable licensed in-home child care options.

The council is also backing an act to deter age discrimination in employment applications. The group says this form of discrimination is becoming more of a concern to women, as women over the age of 65 are projected to make up approximately the same percentage of the female workforce as older men do of the male workforce by 2024.

The bill would bar employers from asking applicants for their age, date of birth, or graduation dates unless age is a legitimate occupational qualification or necessary to comply with state or local laws.

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