Elizabeth Warren vows to sign executive orders addressing women of color pay gap if elected

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced she would sign executive orders aimed at increasing wages for women of color and “open up new pathways to the leadership positions they deserve" if she's elected president.

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Democratic presidential hopeful Warren wrote her proposal in a Medium post that was published Friday. She explained her plan in a post, titled “Valuing the Work of Women of Color."

"More than 70% of Black mothers and more than 40% of Latina mothers are their families’ sold breadwinners — compared to less than a quarter of white mothers," Warren claimed in the post. “In 2017, Black women were paid 61 cents for every dollar white men made. Native women made 58 cents to a white man’s dollar — and Latinas earned just 53 cents to a white man’s dollar."

Warren promised she would sign executive orders aimed at addressing the wage and employment leadership gap for women of color on “day one of the Warren Administration."

The Massachusetts senator said she would ban companies seeking federal contracts from using forced arbitration and non-compete clauses, which she argues make it more difficult for employees to fight wage theft, discrimination and harassment issues particularly affecting minority women. Contractors would also be banned from asking applicants for past salary information and criminal histories and would have to pay a $15 minimum hourly wage and offer benefits including paid family leave, fair scheduling and collective bargaining rights to all employees.

Warren also pledged to issue an order to recruit from historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions; establish paid fellowships for federal jobs for minority and low-income applicants, including formerly incarcerated people; and require federal agencies to incorporate diversity into their strategic plans and mentorship efforts.

She concluded her proposal by saying the executive orders were just one step and more needed to be done to ensure women of color were given a fair shot at employment opportunities. She said her universal child care, student debt cancellation and affordable housing plans will also help.

“It’s time to build an America that recognizes the role that women of color play in their families and in the economy, that fairly values their work, and that delivers equal opportunity for everyone,” she concluded in the online blog post.

The proposal comes ahead of the Essence Fest, an annual music and cultural conference in New Orleans. She and fellow Democratic presidential contenders Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Beto O’Rourke and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were slated to speak at the largest gathering of black women in the U.S.

In May, Harris pitched a proposal to close the gender wage gap by making it required for companies to disclose pay data.

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In a Fox News poll published on June 16, former Vice President Joe Biden was the most preferred Democratic nominee among Democratic voters with 32 percent support among primary voters. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was second with 13 percent and Warren came in third with 9 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.