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Remarks by Secretary Gina M. Raimondo at the Manassas Women’s Roundtable

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be here.

Thank you Mayor Davis-Younger, Senator Warner, Congresswoman Wexton, and Senator McPike for inviting me to join what I'm sure will be a great discussion on the importance of women-led small businesses. I want to hear what we can do in Washington to support you.  

As the first female governor of Rhode Island and a former business owner, I understand the importance of uplifting women in our workforce, in the boardroom, and in our government.  

For so long we have fought for a place at the table, and in this administration, we not only have a seat, but we are setting the agenda. I’m honored to be part of the most diverse Presidential cabinet in history.   

Women are the backbone of our economy. And our economy cannot fully recover unless women can fully participate. Over 2 million women left the workforce during the pandemic. As Vice President Harris has said, this mass exodus is a national emergency, and it demands a national solution. 

We must ensure women have the support they need to thrive in the workforce − whether that’s funding to start their own businesses, training programs for new careers, or affordable access to quality care for their children and loved ones. 

As a mom of two children myself, I know first-hand what a difference that makes.  

We’re tackling these challenges with the American Jobs Plan through job training; expanding access to capital for women small business owners; and establishing apprenticeship programs to recruit and retain women in critical industries – especially STEM.  

Additionally, the care economy portion of the American Jobs Plan is critical to getting Americans – especially women – back to work.   

As Commerce Secretary, improving women’s economic security is one of my top priorities.  

We have to bring dignity back to care work.  As everyone here knows, we cannot have a thriving economy if we don’t have the infrastructure to ensure our loved ones are taken care of while we’re at work. 

With that, I look forward to hearing about your entrepreneurial ventures and how the Commerce Department can support you.

Leadership