With only 40 days remaining until the U.S. presidential election, Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute and Ariane Hegewisch of the Institute for Women's Policy Research took the stage on Thursday for a lively debate on the status of women's economic progress and the election's implications for working women. Furchtgott-Roth and Hegewisch both acknowledged that women have made significant gains in achieving economic equality over the past several decades and agreed that jobs will be among the top concerns for women voters this November. However, they disagreed about which candidate's policies will best serve women's economic needs.
Furchtgott-Roth claimed that American women are no longer the victims of systematic discrimination and emphasized that they need more jobs — not more regulations — to advance in the workplace. Hegewisch acknowledged that women first and foremost need jobs, but argued that they also require protections and systems of support to ensure fair professional treatment. Among the policy measures discussed were the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and paid maternity leave. Hegewisch asserted that such policies will support economic growth and advance the status of women, while Furchtgott-Roth views them as onerous constraints that will ultimately hinder economic growth and result in lower female workforce participation.
The female vote has emerged as a crucial battleground in the 2012 election and will likely play a major role in determining the outcome in November. But what exactly is at stake for women? Given the current economic climate, what are the biggest issues facing working female voters, and what should they know before they head to the polls?
At this event, just weeks before the election, two experts in employment and gender policies — Diana Furchtgott-Roth, author of “Women’s Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economic Progress of Women in America,” and Ariane Hegewisch, study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research — will address these questions and offer their diverging perspectives on what the 2012 presidential election means for working women.