President Barack Obama is highlighting women's economic issues
, particularly access to higher education, at an event at Valencia College, a community college in Orlando, FL, on Thursday. The event is:
... the first in a series of regional forums on women’s issues that senior administration officials plan to attend in the next few months. The forums will help set the agenda for the president’s Summit on Working Families in June, which will discuss programs that can help women but that do not require approval by Congress, where much of his agenda has stalled. The effort is part of Mr. Obama’s “pen and phone” strategy, which involves executive orders and his ability to recruit high-ranking government officials and business leaders to accomplish his goals.
A White House fact sheet emphasizes the importance of education to women's earnings:
Community colleges are an important part of education for women, with many female college students over the age of 25 having children and needing flexibility; according to the White House:
Nationally, community colleges are key paths to economic opportunity for women. In fact, 4.1 million women make up 58 percent of community college students, and about a quarter of them are mothers. The number of women enrolled at community colleges will grow by nearly 20 percent between now and 2021, to 4.9 million by 2021, nearly three times faster growth than male enrollment.
Obama is also using Thursday's event to continue pushing for women to enter science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), a push that's consistent with his broader emphasis on STEM fields. While the White House cites data suggesting that women in particular may benefit from entering these fields, on the whole, the president seems, sadly, to be embracing a myth
about a STEM shortage that the United States isn't actually facing.