OVERLAND, Mo. – The nation’s second gentleman met with St. Louis leaders on Wednesday for a conversation on the important work we need to do to ensure gender equity in the workplace.
Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, visited the headquarters of Clayco Inc. in Overland as part of the Biden administration’s “Help is Here” tour.
“This is our sixth stop on the tour,” Emhoff said. “We’ve been all over the country.”
Members of the administration have been touring the country to promote the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
“This is not just an issue for today. This should be an issue for every day,” Emhoff said.
Emhoff joined Mayor Lyda Krewson, Clayco Project Manager April Austin, and several others in a round table discussion. Several other local female leaders took part in the meeting, which also comes on Equal Pay Day, which is meant to focus on gender equity in the workplace.
The discussion emphasized the many ways the COVID pandemic has magnified economic barriers for women and their families; specifically, women of color.
“Native women, Hispanic women, Black women. It’s not Equal Pay Day. Those days are far off,” Emhoff said.
Statistics show women still earn just 82% of wages on average compared to men. Experts say the wage gap has narrowed but it’s going to take 90 more years before that gap closes.
“Women see to be overrepresented in positions that are lower paid and underrepresented in postions that are higher paid,” Emhoff said. “And then what happens is when you get fixed in a certain salary, you just never catch up.”
Nicole Adewale, founder and president of ABNA Engineering, welcomed the second gentleman and says we need to keep having conversations about culture change.
“Getting over our fear of the other,” she said. “That’s what’s going to make sure we can get to a place when it comes to gender and racial equity in the workplace.”
Emhoff also emphasized the administration’s American Rescue Plan, which aims to help Americans and their families.
“The more I learn about it, the more I talk about it, the more you realize how transformational, generational this is, and the affect it’s going to have on all of us,” he said. “Doesnt matter who you voted for or where you live, this thing will help all Americans in a very transformational way.”
Wednesday marks the final stop for the second gentleman on the tour. He’ll return to Washington, D.C. from St. Louis.