President Obama has an enormous opportunity to influence the lives of workers in the next few weeks. As current Secretary of the Department of Labor, Hilda Solis, has announced she will be resigning from her post, the President will soon nominate a new Secretary, and he should pick a woman.
Many working woman across the country have been inspired by Secretary Solis' history and record as the leader of a crucially important department. Indeed, her appointment was historic. As Solis wrote in her resignation letter, "As the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle-class life, and as the first Latina to head a major federal agency, it has been an incredible honor to serve." The President called the outgoing Secretary "a tireless champion for working families" -- and that's exactly what our country needs.
The Labor Secretary plays a critical role in ensuring that America's workers are protected and plays a critical role in how our nation's policies affect labor rights around the world. Women need a strong advocate in this leadership role.
Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the equal, if not main, breadwinner in four out of ten families. Yet a gender wage gap persists in 2013. Women face countless other challenges in the workplace: from securing maternity leave and sick leave to discrimination to maintaining fair hours and fighting wage theft and protecting their health in the workplace.
Luckily, Solis and past Labor Secretaries have played an important role in protecting the rights of women -- and all workers -- in the workplace. And there are countless qualified women up to the task. We're calling on the President to join us in celebrating women's leadership and nominate a female Secretary for the Department of Labor.