(Spokane, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) hosted a roundtable at the YWCA of Spokane to hear from women in the Spokane community about the challenges they face in today’s workforce, and to discuss ways to expand economic opportunity for women and their families. 

At the event, working mothers, students, and community leaders shared stories about their experiences in the workforce and the barriers they overcame to reach their goals and support their families. Senator Murray highlighted the need for policies that would help working women get a fair shot, including strengthening pay equity, expanding the child care tax credit, and enacting family-friendly workplace policies.

Today’s remarks were part of Murray’s continued effort to fight for policies that would expand opportunity for women and their families:

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“A lot of women now are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their family. And as costs rise for our families—whether it’s college tuition, or food, or the mortgage, or rent—it’s really important women are able to be in the workforce and earn a salary that helps them and their family, and their community.” 

“There are a lot of barriers facing women in the workplace today. We all hear about equal pay…If you are working and you earn less than your capability or less than somebody else is—that means your family is hurt, it means your community is hurt because you’re not getting the income to spend in your community and help the whole economy, and it hurts our entire country’s economy. We talk a lot about equal pay as a women’s issue, but this is everybody’s issue because it’s affecting our economy when women are not getting our full potential income.”

“We don’t have good tax policy today for helping with the costs of child care –it has not kept up with the time.  I know anyone here who works knows that you only do as good a job as how well your kids are doing. So if you’re sitting at work and they’re in an unsafe place, or you don’t feel like they’re getting what they need, then how do you participate fully in your job? Your boss, your company, your business, doesn’t do as well if you can’t be fully productive. So child care and universal pre-k are a critical part of what we need to be looking at in terms of barriers.”

“If your income is coming in and all of it is going to pay off a student loan, then that’s not helpful to your family, or to your future. And that’s a real barrier today that we need to be talking about.”

“Two-thirds of the people in this country that are earning the minimum wage are women.. If they were earning more, their communities would benefit, they’d have more money to spend on an extra pair of shoes, or putting more food on the table, or some of those really important costs to a family. So raising the minimum wage nationally is a critical issue we’ve been trying to focus on…”

“I came here today, because I’m finding as I travel around, that women themselves are living this every day. They’re the best people to tell us what’s facing them as a barrier in the workplace…So I’m going to listen to you and take your stories back to Washington, D.C. as we work on these policies. ”