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Legislative Updates

CCSNJ Testifies on the Pandemic’s Impact on Women in the Workforce

Legislative Updates Workforce Updates

On June 13, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey's (CCSNJ) Manager of Government Affairs, Hilary Chebra, was invited to testify before a Joint Committee meeting of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Assembly Women and Children's Committee on the decline of women in the workforce since the start of the pandemic, as well as the importance of affordable and accessible childcare to narrow the gender gap in labor force participation.

Ms. Chebra noted in her testimony that the CCSNJ is proud to have been female led for the past 27+ years and is staffed by a team of 10 women. Citing the over 100 women-owned businesses within the CCSNJ membership, Ms. Chebra was able to provide a unique perspective on the topic to the Joint Committee.

In her testimony, Ms. Chebra stated that one million women are missing from the labor force compared to pre-pandemic, according to recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report entitled Data Deep Dive: A Decline of Women in the Workforce. She also cited a recent report by the Rutgers Center for Women and Work that stated female unemployment, which was at its highest at 18.4 percent in April 2020, outpaced men through the end of 2021 and impacted women of color disproportionally. Ms. Chebra highlighted that, specifically in South Jersey, given the dominance of healthcare, tourism and hospitality in the region, the decline of women in the workforce was dramatic as all three industries are female-dominated.

Ms. Chebra acknowledged that access to, and affordability of childcare, is a major factor for women’s ability to return to the workforce, The CCSNJ was proud to strongly support a package of childcare-related bills in the Assembly Women and Children Committee on June 9, that would provide assistance and resources to help provide families access to childcare so mothers can return to the workforce, as well as help providers allow more availability to care.

Ms. Chebra also presented a recommendation from the CCSNJ's Preparing for the Next Normal Report, that proposed creating state subsidies for employer-based childcare facilities. This program would incentivize businesses to create on-site childcare facilities that meet the appropriate New Jersey standards for childcare.

 To read the CCSNJ full written testimony, click here

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Hilary Chebra

Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ

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