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Saturday 24 August 2019

White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren unveils pay equality policies

The candidate for the Democratic nomination has detailed executive orders she would sign if she makes it to the Oval Office.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (John Locher/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (John Locher/AP)

By Errin Haines Whack, Associated Press

Democratic 2020 hopeful Elizabeth Warren has said that, if elected president, she would sign executive orders aimed at addressing the wage and employment leadership gap for “women of colour”.

Her proposals include punishing companies and contractors with historically poor records on diversity and equality by denying them contracts with the US federal government.

The Massachusetts senator detailed her latest plan in a post on Medium, positioning her ideas as moral and economic imperatives.

It is the latest in a parade of proposals that have become a trademark of her 2020 Democratic presidential bid and helped boost her in the primary polls, particularly among black women.

“Our economy should be working just as hard for women of colour as women of colour work for our economy and their families,” Ms Warren wrote.

“For decades, the government has helped perpetuate the systemic discrimination that has denied women of colour equal opportunities.

“It’s time for the government to try to right those wrongs — and boost our economy in the process.”

Ms Warren’s plan comes on the eve of her appearance at Essence Fest, an annual music and cultural conference that is the largest gathering of black women in the country, with an expected 500,000 due to attend.

Also expected to speak this weekend at the conference in New Orleans are 2020 contenders Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.

Ms Warren’s proposals are aimed not only at black women but also at Latina, Asian and Native American women.

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Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

To address the under-representation of women of colour in leadership in the federal workforce, Ms Warren says she would issue an order to recruit from historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions; establish paid fellowships for federal jobs for minority and low-income applicants, including formerly incarcerated people; and require federal agencies to incorporate diversity into their strategic plans and mentorship efforts.

Another order targets companies and contractors disproportionately employing women of colour.

Under the proposal, Ms Warren would ban companies seeking federal contracts from using forced arbitration and non-compete clauses, which she argues make it more difficult for employees to fight wage theft, discrimination and harassment, issues particularly affecting minority women.

Contractors also would be banned from asking applicants for past salary information and criminal histories and would have to pay a 15 dollar minimum hourly wage and offer benefits including paid family leave, fair scheduling and collective bargaining rights to all employees.

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